Willard Edward (Bill) Fairchild, 77, Florence, died peacefully at his home on May 13, 2009, after a long battle with cancer.
He was born December 1, 1931, in Los Angeles, California, the son of the late Dee M. Fairchild and Hazel Marks Fairchild. On March 17, 1956, he married Ella Mae Schmidt in El Dorado Springs, Missouri, who survives at the home. To this union four daughters were born.
Bill went to his first year of school in California. After moving to Oregon, he attended school at Mason Hill, Holbrook and Skyline schools in the Hillsboro, Oregon area. He graduated from eighth grade from Pleasant Ridge one room school in Cedar County, Missouri in 1947. When his family moved back to Oregon, he then completed his freshman year at Boardman, Oregon.
He was baptized on January 18, 1948, at the Boardman Community Presbyterian Church, Boardman, Oregon.
Upon returning to Missouri, Bill met the girl that would later become his wife at the local swimming hole, known as Spooky Springs, in the Hazel Dell Community, in Cedar County, Missouri.
Bill spent three and a half years in the United States Navy
during the Korean conflict; two years active reserve, six years inactive reserve. He served aboard the heavy cruiser the USS Toledo, CA-133 flagship in the 7th fleet, stationed in the Pacific and the South Pacific and on the island of Guam, with a ranking of Petty Officer Third Class. He was one of the ship's bakers. During that time he was awarded the China Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal; Korean Service Medal (stars-2). He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in December 1953, staying in the reserves until 1958.
He was employed at Metalcraft Engineering and Arrow Truck Sales in Kansas City. Later he was a mechanic for Wahrenbrock Implement Company, Sedalia.
Bill and Mae purchased the farm at Florence in 1959, where they would make their home for the next 53 years. He owned and operated Bill's Garage from his farm for many years. He was well known for his mechanical skills. It was often said that if he could not repair it, it couldn't be repaired.
Bill was always willing to help anyone in need, and never turned anyone down. He had a bulldozing business during the 1960's, specializing in the building of ponds and terraces.
He worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad as a Carman doing painting, sandblasting, and welding. Later he worked in the sign shop making and applying decals to the newly converted cars when Missouri Pacific later became part of the Union Pacific Railroad, until the shops in Sedalia closed in 1986, officially retiring in 1996. He was a card carrying member of the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, Local #506.
Bill was a man of many interests. He enjoyed photography, a hobby he took up while in the Navy, and one of his photos was selected by the United States Navy as an official photograph. He loved to take pictures of his little girls. He was an avid fisherman, taking many fishing trips with family and friends, fishing for bass or catfish in the Flat Creek bottoms. During the 1970's he frequently used the CB radio and his handle was the 'Acorn Picker'. He took his family on several vacations, including a trip back to Oregon, to the area where he grew up.
He was a private pilot, soloed in 1978, and enjoyed flying his Beechcraft Musketeer, until his retirement when for several years, he and his wife Mae spent the winters in Arizona. He found much enjoyment exploring the desert and gold mines on his 4 wheeler. He was also a fan of classic western movies.
He is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Ella Mae, of the home, four daughters, Janet Roberts and husband Travis, Sedalia; Mary Stultz and husband Mark, Sedalia; Donna Dixon and husband Charles, Clinton and Vicki Johnston and husband Steve, Norwood. Five grandchildren, Kari Roberts Mergen, Jesse Ray Roberts, Jason Wayne Stultz, Lacy Mae Johnston and Logan Dee Johnston; a sister, Marilyn Lewis, Montrose and fiancé Ernie Johnson; one brother, Claude Fairchild and wife Shirley, El Dorado Springs; 3 great grandchildren, several cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
He was predeceased by his parents, a brother-in-law, Sam Lewis, and one nephew Donald Lewis.
Services will be 2:00 P.M. Saturday, May 16, at the Scrivner-Morrow Funeral Home in Stover with Leo Harrison officiating. Burial will be in the Florence Union Cemetery with Clifford Hawn, Dennis Schmidt, Rodney Schmidt, Jerry Lewis, Jerry Hartman, and Billy Ray Ellifrits serving as casket bearers and Durward Guth, Wayne Fethke, Bruce Berg and Ernie Johnson serving as honorary bearers.
The family will receive friends from 1:00-2:00 P.M. Saturday at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Bothwell Regional Health Center Hospice in care of the funeral home.