Robert David Fairbanks

Army Badge
  • Name: Robert David Fairbanks
  • Location of Birth:
  • Date of Birth: November 1, 1924
  • Date of Death: May 4, 1946 (21 years old)
  • Parents: ? and Ada Fairbanks
  • High School and Class:
  • College:
  • Highest Rank: PFC (Private First Class)
  • Branch: Army
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: May 7, 1943
  • Place Sworn In:
  • Date of Discharge: November 21, 1945
  • Place of Discharge:
  • Military Awards:
    American Theater Medal
    European-American Middle Eastern Theater Service Medal
    Good Conduct Medal
    World War II Victory Medal

  • Military Highlights:
    Robert served in the 685th Engineers. On December 26, 1944 he was transferred to the 103rd Engineers Combat Battalion, and just before returning home, he was again transferred to the 728th Ordnance Company with which he came back to the States for discharge.

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    Information from Itasca News, Deer River, Minnesota, dated May 9, 1946:

    "Robert Fairbanks Killed As Car, Driven at High Speed Went Out of Control
    Robert Fairbanks, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ted Fairbanks of Inger Route, was instantly killed about 6:30 Saturday evening when the car he was driving went out of control, went into the ditch and rolled over on its back. Jos. Gotchie of Ball Club and Alfred Fairbanks of near the Fleming farm, were held for treatment at the Community hospital, while three others, Tom Sherman, Joseph Paper and Emery Jenkins from near Winnie dam in the car with the others, were released from the hospital after being treated for various bruises and scratches.

    It appears that after bringing his father into town to go to the office of Rathborne, Hair and Ridgeway company for whom the senior Fairbanks had been logging, to make a settlement. Robert waited for his father until 3:30. After that he was around town until supper time and he picked up his friends to go to Grand Rapids for the evening. While liquor is often the cause of bad accidents, it was ascertained that the boys with possibly one exception, had not been drinking. Robert was a fast driver, but a good driver. During his service in the army, he had a job of driving a light truck delivering and going after parts and things for repairing equipment and learned to be a good and careful driver, but his work required speed and he had gotten into the habit of driving fast. In this case, he was driving at a high rate of speed. In looking over the highway where the accident occurred with the highway patrol officers, the boy's father says that it was determined that a probable cause of the accident could have been that a wheel of the car could have gotten into the wide expansion joint and thrown the car out of control.
    The steering wheel and standard were bent back against the seat, but young Fairbanks body was thrown out of the car and was 30 feet from where the car landed in the ditch, on the same side of the road. The car was telescoped and is virtually a total wreck.

    Coroner Thomas Russell with men from the sheriff's office and the highway patrol viewed the wreck and the accident was declared unavoidable.

    Robert Fairbanks was born in Deer River November 1, 1924. He attended the Jackson school was grew up in that community. He had been employed in the woods with his father until he entered the service May 7, 1943.

    His war record shows that he was in the 685th Base equipment company as a truck driver, light. December 26, 1944 he was transferred to the 103rd Engineers Combat Battalion, and just before returning home, he was again transferred to the 728th Ordnance company with which he came back to the States for discharge. His battle action in the service was in the Ardennes Rhineland and Central Europe. He was awarded the American theater medal, European-American-Middle Eastern theater Service medal, the Good Conduct medal and the World War II Victory medal.

    Full military funeral services were held from St. Joseph's Mission Church at Ball Club at 10 o'clock a.m. Wednesday with Rev. Fr. Dennis Parnell officiating.

    Robert was the son of Mrs. Ted Fairbanks, but not of Mr. Fairbanks, his father having been a cousin of Ted who died many years ago. The shock and sadness of his tragic death is made the more poignant and sad for Mr. and Mrs. Fairbanks by reason of the fact that tragedy had entered their life before when they lost three girls by drowning in Little Winnibigoshish lake June 30, 1940. The oldest of the three girls was a daughter of Mrs. Fairbanks and the two younger the daughters of both Mr. and Mrs. Fairbanks."

    Robert is buried in St. Josephs Cemetery at Ball Club, Minnesota.

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):