Erwin Fairburn

Erwin R. Fairburn died May 5, 2006 after a long, hard-fought battle with cancer.

Erv, as he was known by his friends, was born in Craven, Saskatchewan on March 23, 1925 to Russell and Rosetta Fairburn. They had homesteaded near there, where he was raised with his brother Ray and sister Irene. They all worked hard on the farm.

His children heard many stories of growing up with his brother and sister from driving teams of horses to fighting at school.

He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in September 1943 and was then sent to Regina to do his basic training.

His aim was for the sky, but all he got was the garage, being a mechanic and driver. He was stationed in different locations, first out of Regina then Vancouver and was even sent to work on the Alaska Highway during the war. It was in Vancouver where he met and married his first wife, Joyce, in December 1945.

After he left the Air Force in September of 1946 they were blessed with their first son Wilfred. It was then that he took his small family north to the Cariboo and Tatla Lake and then returned to Vancouver when Judy was born.

Of course being that jobs were kind of scarce in those days settling down in one spot was not an option sometimes, as the family went from Surrey to Greenwood and on to Grand Forks where Erv and Joyce had their three boys Wayne, Ernie and Garth.

Erv picked up jobs at Woodwards Stores, Grand Forks School District, Horovatin Brothers Ltd., Cooks Lumber, and Oliver Valley sawmill.

In 1952 Erv got a job with CP Rail in Midway and at this time moved back to Grand Forks and continued to work for CP Rail. Joyce always said they moved 13 times in one year, never having time to unpack anything. The family heard that story a few times. It was then in 1953 that Erv finally decided to settle in Williams Lake.

He found work as a mechanic at the Williams Lake Garage and from there to the Department of Public Works and on to Wright Lumber Ltd. and also the B.C. Power Commission. When Erv and Joyce arrived in Williams Lake it was Erv’s intention to apply for Crown land and make a home for his wife and children which they did, as well as have three more children.

Between growing vegetables in the garden and raising pigs and chickens and cows to feed the family it was hard in those days to keep everyone happy. But everybody did his or her share of hard work.

It was in 1964 that Erv started working as a guard for the RCMP station. He enjoyed working there and always said the best matron he ever worked with was Liz White. He worked there until his retirement in 1990. Retirement started a little rocky because of an accident he was in but once over that, it was a happy time for Erv and he got to spend more time outside tending to his trees and flowers.

When he wasn’t busy with gardening he was usually being helpful to one or another of his children or grandchildren, running errands or down at Zellers for coffee with the gang or at Barton’s with Timbits for Monica and the girls. Or he would get in the car and take a drive.

He had a great memory for retaining jokes and stories and he always had one ready. As he always use to say, “laugh and world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.”

He leaves behind him eight children: son Wilfred (Becky), daughter Judy (Ray), son Wayne (Bonnie), son Ernie (Ramona), son Garth, daughter Lorraine (George), daughter Tina (Lou), son Clint (Cindy). He also leaves 19 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren his dear friend Winnie, and many others he considered his extended family.

The family appreciates all the care and help they received from his doctors, home support nurses and homemakers and the hospice program.

A celebration of life for Erv will be held on July 22 from 1-5 p.m. with the eulogy at 3 p.m. at Erv’s home at 950 Hodgson Road.


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