July 26, 1937 – October 30, 2019
Gilbert Wayne Fairbanks, Greenville, SC
Gilbert Wayne Fairbanks, 82, entered into the presence of the Lord on October 30, 2019. Born in Hartford, Connecticut on July 26, 1937 to Daniel and Edith Fairbanks and was baptized at Emanuel Lutheran Church. After graduating in Connecticut from Windsor High School, Trinity College with a B.S. in Biology, Wesleyan University with his Masters, and then the University of South Carolina where he earned his PhD in Biology in 1964, Gilbert was a professor for 36 years at Furman University from 1964 until the year 2000. During his years at Furman University, he was a professor and the Chief Health Professions Advisor.
He was asked to conduct and direct the Upstate Science Fair. This ultimately led to his involvement in Science Fairs for 25 years on the State Level. In 1986, he received the prestigious Order of the Palmetto Award from Governor Richard Riley for his extraordinary lifetime service, work, and contributions of statewide significance for his dedication.
After three years of retirement from Furman University, he decided to go back into teaching in 2003 and joined the adjunct faculty at Greenville Technical College where he taught Anatomy and Physiology until 2010.
Gil was a member of the Lutheran Church of Our Savior since 1964. From 1965-2010, he served as the 8th grade Confirmation class instructor, sang in the choir, and played handbells for the church. He also served on various church committees and leadership positions including Lutheran Men. He received an honorary lifetime achievement for all of his local, regional, and state involvement in the Lutheran church.
Gilbert’s favorite past times included gardening, tending to his raspberries, blueberries, and flowers. He loved to listen to NPR, Pipedreams, and Prairie Home Companion and watched 60 minutes and NY Yankees and Atlanta Braves baseball. He also enjoyed painting with a focus on birds and animals, playing the piano, and walking dogs. He enjoyed traveling, visiting National Parks and natural landscapes, hiking, and reading stories and playing with his grandchildren.
His family and friends will most remember Gil for his gentle disposition, sweet smile, kindness, and faith and devotion to God.
Gilbert is survived by his wife, Brenda, of 50 years, his children Melanie Chamberlain (daughter) of Greensboro, NC and her husband Eric; Mark Fairbanks (son) of Hendersonville, NC and his wife Emily; his four grandchildren, Brandon Hitt, Andrew and Anabelle Fairbanks, and Megan Chamberlain; his nephew and niece Jeffrey Potter and Jennifer Jarvis of Simsbury, Connecticut; and many Furman and church friends.
A Celebration of Life service will take place at the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour at 2600 Wade Hampton Boulevard on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 3:00pm with a reception following the service.
Memorials may be made to Lutheran Men or the Music Program of the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour at 2600 Wade Hampton Blvd, Greenville, SC 29615 or to Lutheran Hospice at 429 N. Main Street #3, Greenville, SC 29601.
- Memorial Service Saturday, November 9, 2019
November 9, 2019
Sorry for your loss, Brenda, and Mark and Melanie. I have fond memories of Biology Club picnics and always seeing Dr. Fairbanks in the halls of the biology dept. I remember his generous help when I was contacting him from Argentina for guidance on getting into PT school after returning home from there. He was such an important part of the Biology dept, which was so much an integral part of my growing up years. You and your family were a part of that. May you feel God's presence and peace, His comfort, love and strength as you walk through these next moments, hours, days and weeks!
November 8, 2019
So sorry for your loss. Please know that you are on my heart and in my prayers.
I wish you peace.
Nell Coogler Miller
November 8, 2019
Brenda, I am so sorry about Gil! I always enjoyed seeing you at church! Your participation in the music and worship service was always superb! I have missed not seeing you for some time but every time I met with you, it was like we just saw each other the day before. You were the church! Members such as you has made and will continue to endeavor Our Saviour Lutheran Church as a family. I extend my sympathy and wish I could be there with you! Love, Nell C. Miller
November 5, 2019
Brenda, so very sorry to hear of your loss. Only knew Gil briefly but he made a lasting impression.
We miss you.
Love, Neal & Carolyn
November 2, 2019
Brenda, I was so sorry to hear about your loss. I will be unable to attend the memorial service but I wanted you to know that you and your family will be in my prayers.