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FAIRBANK, Robert In the comforting presence of his devoted daughters, Robert Fairbank succumbed to cancer at the Merrimack Valley Hospice house on Monday, May 16 with the dignity that characterized his fifty-nine years among family and friends. Robert was the husband of Barbara "Bunny" Fairbank, who predeceased him in 2012 after 30 years of marriage. He was the son of the late Richard and Christine (Cunningham) Fairbank. Robert was born in Henniker, NH, before moving to Brookline, MA, where he was raised and attended public school. He attended UMass Amherst but withdrew prior to graduation—tugged from that setting by his eventual and lifelong passion, goldsmithing. Robert apprenticed in the Boston area with Thomas Priest, worked for a time for Peter Whitman, and eventually founded Goldsmiths 3 and its successor company, Fairbank and Perry Goldsmiths of Concord. Robert's art imitated his life—creative, visionary, and elegant in its understatement. Throughout his life, he gained an abiding respect for the creative opportunities that precious metals—like precious moments—present. Outside of his studio, Robert—the expert designer and platinumsmith—taught specialty workshops at the Massachusetts College of Art, the DeCordova Museum, and MetalWerx. Outside of his professional life, Robert— the ever-engaged and horizon-broadening parent—regularly organized skiing, hiking, and camping excursions with his daughters. He enjoyed spending time outdoors and appreciating nature with his entire family, and would often invite his brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews along for the adventures. Robert served his community as a volunteer firefighter in Millis, as a board member of the Lowell Youth Soccer Association, and—along with his wife—as a constant and positive presence in Lowell's Parent-Teacher Organizations. Robert cultivated the calm that pervaded his demeanor by sketching, painting with water colors, reading, gardening, kayaking, and traveling along the coast. However, this Renaissance fellow possessed a competitive streak and regularly set-down brush, book, and hoe to participate in men's soccer and hockey leagues. Those closest to Robert will recall with fondness the rarity of his bearing and the diversity of his talents. Robert's survivors include his daughters Ashley and her fiance Edward Kennedy of Somerville; Kristin and her husband Anthony Altieri of Portland, ME; and Casey of Lowell. Robert's siblings include John and his partner Marcy Goldman of Billerica; Martha of Lowell; Michael and his wife Caryl of Methuen; Anne of Charlestown; Andrew of Manchester, NH; Christina of Chicago, IL; and David of Fort Collins, CO. Robert is also survived by many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Lowell General Hospital Cancer Center, or to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's multiple myeloma program. Visiting hours will be held on Friday in the Bell-O'Dea Funeral Home, 376 Washington St., BROOKLINE, from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM with a funeral service at 7:00PM. Relatives and friends are kindly invited. Interment will be private. www.bellodeafh.com
Published in The Boston Globe from May 19 to May 20, 2016
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