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In Memory of Ruby Fairbanks


12 - 2 pm on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at the O'Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson, Wisconsin

Funeral Services

11 am on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at the O'Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson, Wisconsin

Ruby Esther (Edling) Fairbanks, age 89, of Hudson, WI, died March 29, 2012, at her daughter Sheryl’s home in Roseville, MN, surrounded by loving family after a long, courageous journey with dementia and six days after a stroke that left her unable to eat or communicate. She was granted her wish to go home to Heaven. Despite 10 years of declining mental acuteness after aortic heart-valve replacement, she taught us that the only time we have is this minute, and you really do have a choice about whether to be grumpy or grateful. She was nearly always grateful, nearly always happy, nearly always an outrageous flirt! She taught us that you remain the person you have always been at your core. She will be deeply missed, but will be carried in our hearts forever.


God bless you, Ruby, a beautiful, remarkable, strong woman often described as a gem, a class act, a unique original with a sense of humor and kindness toward others.


Ruby was born November 19, 1922, in Minneapolis, MN, daughter of Reuben and Esther (Malcolm) Edling. She was a third-generation American who loved to tell everyone she was a “svenska flicka” (full-blooded “Swedish girl”). She loved a good cup of coffee, especially with friends at Dibbo’s. A graduate of both Minneapolis South High School (1940 salutatorian) and Caton Scientific School of Business (1941), she was a legal secretary and executive secretary. She finished her long career as executive secretary/administrative assistant for the head of 3M’s Patent Counsel Office.


Her first years were spent on the Edling family truck farm in Brooklyn Center. Her father, a WWI veteran, died when Ruby was 7 years old. Her mother put her in charge of her younger brothers, Clary and Art, while Esther supported the family running boarding houses during the Depression. In July 1934, Esther married Waldemar Uno Mattila, with whom she had a son Walter (Wally). Ruby spoke lovingly of her Christian upbringing in the historic First Mission Covenant Church (aka Swedish Tabernacle) in downtown Minneapolis (810 S. 7th St.) where her grandfather Peter Jonathan (PJ) Malcolm was one of the (original) founders in 1874. Like her grandfather PJ, she could strike up a conversation with anyone. As a family matriarch, she had an almost photographic memory for family history.


She had a great love of nature and for 60 years loved living on the St. Croix River in Hudson, WI. She enjoyed hiking, identifying birds and wildlife and photographing wildflowers with late husband, Roger Fairbanks. For many years, she was a secretary and/or treasurer of many volunteer organizations such as OWLS, Trout Unlimited, VFW Auxiliary, and PTA in Hudson. She was also a Girl Scout leader in the 1960s. Ruby will always be remembered for her love of people. She had an amazing ability to connect with all kinds of people, especially children. Ruby had a zest for life and provided unsurpassed energy and creativity at celebrations and gatherings with family and friends. If you needed a true friend, she was it. She loved listening to music and as an adult dancing with husband Roger. She was a positive person, full of humor and compassion. Ruby unconditionally loved her husband and children and unwaveringly supported their dreams and endeavors.


Ruby’s favorite Bible verse, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life”.


Preceded in death by father, Reuben Edling, mother, Esther (Malcolm Edling) Mattila, step-father, Waldemar Uno Mattila, and brothers Clarence Edling (11/05/11), Arthur Edling (3/27/91) and half-brother Walter Mattila (11/1/11) and loving husband, Earl Roger Fairbanks (2/23/11). She is survived by daughters Sheryl Fairbanks (Warren Wolfe) of Roseville, MN, and Katherine Fairbanks of Hudson, WI; and nine nieces and nephews, many great-nieces and great-nephews, a great-great nephew & great-great nieces and many, many friends.


A service of celebration of Ruby’s life will be held at 11 am on Saturday, April 28. A gathering will be held after the service until 2 pm. Burial for Ruby and Earl will be held privately at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Memorial contributions suggested to HealthPartners Hospice & Palliative Care who brought comfort to both Ruby and Roger in their final months, with a special thank you to Team 6.  Services are in the care of the O’Connell Family Funeral Home and Countryside Crematory – Hudson, WI. 715.386.3725.

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