Hugh Erwin Fairbairn, 96Hugh E. Fairbairn, age 96, of Inver Grove Heights, and formerly of Cloquet, passed away Sunday, May 20, at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
Hugh E. Fairbairn, age 96, of Inver Grove Heights, and formerly of Cloquet, passed away Sunday, May 20, at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
He was born May 16, 1916, in Jeffers, Minn., to Leonard and Lucille (Hosmer) Fairbairn. After his mother died when he was 2, Hugh and his brother, Bryce, were raised in Jeffers by an extended family of his father; aunts, Mabel and Helen; and uncle, Dave. The extended family briefly relocated to Corning, Calif., in 1928 before returning to the family homestead in 1932.
Hugh graduated from Jeffers High School and later received his bachelor's degree from Mankato Teachers College and a Master's from the University of Minnesota. Before the war, he taught industrial arts at Sioux Valley, Minn., and New London, Minn. In New London he met Martha Kothz, and they were united in marriage on June 14, 1943.
During World War II, he taught propeller maintenance at Keesler Field in Biloxi, Miss., first as a civilian and later after he was drafted as a member of the Army Air Force. Following the war, he taught briefly in Westbrook, Minn., before moving to Cloquet. He taught auto mechanics, electricity, welding, and machine shop in Cloquet from 1946 to 1978. He also served as director of transportation for the Cloquet School District, coordinating the school bus system. Each August he would perform a full personal census of the rural areas going home to home. One of his joys in teaching was leading and coaching a team in the Plymouth Troubleshooting Contest, twice leading his team into the national finals in Indianapolis, Ind.
Hugh was a longtime member and Elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Cloquet and a member of Golden Kiwanis. After retirement, he enjoyed fishing, bird watching, bird carving with power tools, and his grandchildren. Hugh was known for always having a project and being willing to help others with theirs.
Hugh was preceded in death by his wife, Martha; parents, Leonard and Lucille; brother, Bryce; sister, Lucille; uncle, Dave; and aunts, Helen and Mabel.
He is survived by his two sons, David (Jo) Fairbairn of Mendota Heights, Minn., and Mark Fairbairn of Red Wing, Minn.; three grandchildren, Scott (Heather) Fairbairn, Grant (Kara) Fairbairn, and Ann (Matt) Weber; seven great-grandchildren, Bryce Fairbairn, Faith Fairbairn, Lauren Fairbairn, Owen Fairbairn, Hayden Weber, Zachary Weber, and Josh Weber.
Visitation will be held Saturday, June 2, from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. memorial service at the First Presbyterian Church in Cloquet. A luncheon and time of fellowship will follow in the church social hall. Memorials are preferred to the First Presbyterian Church or the Cloquet Educational Foundation.
The family has selected Nelson Funeral Care of Cloquet to assist them with arrangements. See their online guest book at www.nelsonfuneralcare.net.
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