Stephen Monroe Fairbanks 1927 - 2022

Stephen Monroe Fairbanks died peacefully Tuesday, January 18, 2022, in Oakland, California. He was 94 years old. He was preceded in death by his wife, Doris Evelyn White Fairbanks.

Steve, as he was called, was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1927 to Ralph and Hava Fairbanks. The youngest of four children, the Fairbanks family moved to Ottumwa, Iowa, where Steve graduated from Ottumwa High School. He immediately entered the Navy at age 17. During his World War II tour of duty, he served aboard the USS Scribner and was stationed in the China Sea. Upon leaving the service in 1946, he moved to McMinnville, where he embraced his lifetime love of automobiles, and went to work for Chuck Colvin Ford. Not long thereafter, he met his wife-to-be, Dory White. They were married in 1954 in McMinnville.

A job opportunity took the newlyweds first to Arizona and then to San Diego, where their son Scott was born. They then settled in Orange County, California, where Steve worked for Continental Insurance Company as a claims adjuster, a job and career he greatly loved. Always a lover of the outdoors, great food, motorcycles, and friends, family weekends were spent camping at many places throughout Southern California and beyond. Frequent getaways included trips to such places as Landers, Huntington Lake, and Pismo Beach, California.

A career change in the 1970s saw Steve take on the building of a very successful insurance agency with Farmers Insurance, from which he retired in 1989. But their hearts never left McMinnville, and they returned there to live out their retirement years, building a home they loved and shared with their overly-pampered pets. They purchased a rather sizable motorhome that took them on many travels across the United States, and to their winter roosting place in Quartzsite, Arizona. When Dory passed away in 2007, Steve decided to make the most of his always outgoing personality and love of people and took up residence at Hillside Senior Living in McMinnville.

At Hillside, he was always the life of the party and entertained the many dear friends he made there that became his chosen family.
Late in 2021, declining health concerns saw Steve move to Oakland, California, to live with his son, Scott, and son-in-law, Max Vargas. Steve passed away peacefully at home on January 18, 2022.

Viewing will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, January 28, 2022, at the Chapel of Macy & Son in McMinnville. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the USS Slater Foundation, To leave online condolences, please visit


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