J. Nicholas Fax Jr., MD 1940 - 2024

J. Nicholas Fax Jr., M.D., (Nick), of McMinnville, Oregon, died of natural causes on June 15, 2024, in his home.

Nick was born March 31, 1940, in Milwaukie, Oregon,  to Ruby (Muschamp) Fax and John N. Fax Sr. He attended school in the Milwaukie school system, graduating in 1958 from Milwaukie High School. He attended Willamette University, graduating in 1962 with a degree in chemistry. He entered the University of Oregon Medical School (Oregon Health & Science University) in 1962, graduating in 1966. Following medical school, Nick traveled to Kansas City, Missouri, where he completed a rotating one-year  internship at Kansas City General Hospital. Upon completion of internship in 1967, Nick entered the U.S. Navy, where he practiced general medicine, one year at Concord Weapons Naval station and the second year at Camp Courtney on Okinawa. He returned to the U.S. in 1969 and began an orthopedic surgery residency with the Kansas City Dixon-Dively Orthopedic Clinic, again at Kansas City General Hospital, and which is now a part of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Medical School. During his residency he met his wife, Jan Noonan. They were married in 1972.

After completing his residency, Nick moved to McMinnville and established a general orthopedic surgery practice, working in McMinnville from 1973 to 1982. Though busy with his medical practice, he was appointed to the McMinnville City Council in the mid-'70s, filling a vacated position. He served until the term ended. He very much enjoyed his time and work on the council; he was pleased to have helped the McMinnville ambulance service transition from the station wagon style of ambulance to the modern and much better equipped box ambulances of today. While living in McMinnville, he was an active member of Rotary International and the First Presbyterian Church.

In 1982, Nick and wife Jan moved first to Martinsville, Virginia, for 14 months, and then to Lumberton, North Carolina, where they were able to work together in his office from 1984 to 1997.They returned to Oregon, again working together for a short time in Tillamook. Nick retired from private practice in 1998; he and Jan returned to their home in McMinnville. He “unretired” in 2000, and worked as independent medical examiner until January of 2007, at which time he retired from all medical endeavors. He loved orthopedics and was always particularly pleased when able to help patients regain mobility. He was also deeply grateful to have practiced medicine during a time in which he could be an independent, solo practitioner, with the opportunity for independent thinking as it related to his patients’ care and his own medical practice.

Though medicine was his career choice, his fallback choice was farming: throughout his life, he remained a farmer at heart. His grandfather, Nick Fax, then his uncles, George and Fred Fax, farmed wheat in The Dalles, where Nick spent six summers working on his family’s ranch. He learned to love Eastern Oregon, living rurally, and making things grow. He remained close to his uncles and their wives, and while he didn’t live on the family ranch and grow wheat, he transitioned into an avid vegetable gardener. He loved Oregon generally, delighting in being a member of SNOB, the Society of Native Oregon Born. He loved his home and his springer spaniels and springerdoodles; traveling, barbequing, and in earlier years, upland bird hunting, particularly on the Fax family ranch. He was a passionate reader, loving particularly The Wall Street Journal and World War II. He was a member of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.

Nick was preceded in death by his parents, Ruby and Johnny Fax; his sister, Priscilla Fax Lewis Sturges; and his aunts and uncles, Mary and George Fax, and Alice and Fred Fax.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Jan; and their dogs, Betsy and Addie; his sister, Elizabeth (Ron) Crait; nieces, Jill and Joy Lewis (Bill Phillips); nephews, Jack (Shasta) and Peter Lewis, and Jamie (Shawana) and Nic Crait; also his brother from other parents, Dave (Cathy) Haugeberg and their children, Dianne (Brian) Shea and Karen (John) Timmons.

His family would like to thank HelloCare of McMinnville, whose kind and skilled caregivers enabled him to stay in his home until his passing. We particularly wish to thank Theresa Herron and Teresa Redditt for being with Nick until the end. We also wish to thank Signature Hospice for compassionate end of life care.

Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29, 2024, at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 822 S.W. Second St., McMinnville, Oregon, with a reception to follow. Private interment will be at Evergreen Cemetery.

As Nick believed no one should ever be hungry, it is suggested that, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the St. Barnabas Soup Kitchen, PO Box 539, McMinnville, Or 97128.

To leave online condolences, please visit www.macyandson.com.


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