Jerald "Jerry" Fairbanks 1941 - 2021

On August 22, 2021, Jerald “Jerry” Morris Fairbanks passed away at Willamette Valley Medical Center after a brief illness.
Jerry was born September 4, 1941, to Maurice and Mabel Fairbanks in Burbank, California. He completed the family, along with his older sister, Verna. He attended John Burroughs High School, which was central to the entertainment industry in nearby Hollywood, where many of his classmates were of the original Mouseketeers. He played football and was in a car club with Dan Haggerty, aka Grizzly Adams.

He married his first wife, Karen Potter, on February 5, 1963. They had four children together, and in 1969 they moved north to McMinnville, Oregon, to work for Skyline Manufactured Homes. He worked in many careers over the next four decades in Yamhill County, including surveying, excavation and truck driving (Log, Long Haul and ODFW Fish Transport). In the summer of 1984, Karen passed after a battle with cancer.

In 1992 Jerry met and married Betty June (Hodge) Vorres, who also had four children. They surprised everybody with an elopement to Reno. The following summers would include annual camping trips with all their adult children and grandkids joining together around the campfire for song and s’mores at his favorite campground.

He loved kids, especially his grandkids. Jerry took great joy in being Santa Claus for several years for the McMinnville Fire Department. He was a volunteer fireman for 25 years and would start the Christmas season off early in the morning at the fire hall, preparing breakfast for his fellow firemen before hanging Christmas decorations. He would then ride atop his sleigh (ladder truck) with his grandkids in the annual Christmas parade through downtown McMinnville, spreading joy to all with a wave and a beaming smile. The Santa suit was expertly sewn by Betty June, and his thick, white beard and rich baritone “Ho, Ho, Ho,” would fill every child with the Christmas spirit!

He is survived by his wife, Betty June; his children and their spouses, Julie and Mark Flansberg, Natalie Fairbanks, Jeff and Victoria Fairbanks, and Heather Fairbanks; his step-children, Glenna Vorres and Larry Harris, Lynda and Don Hardwick, and Keri Vorres; and a thundering herd of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Maurice and Mabel; his first wife, Karen; his sister, Verna; his step-son Glenn; and his beloved terrier, Bear.

There will be a private family ceremony at Jerry’s favorite campground at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please give generously this year to the McMinnville Volunteer Fire Department's Toy and Joy program on behalf of Jerry. Our family thanks you!



My condolences to the family. Jerry was a great person and he will be missed!


Thank you for your time at the Fire Dept.

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