Lester William (Bill) Fairley was born on April 21, 1929, in El Paso Texas to Ina Fay (Barbee) and Leon Johnston Fairley. Bill died at home in Sacramento, Calif., on Jan. 3, 2021, at the age of 91 years.
Bill grew up in El Paso, graduating from Austin High School. He majored in violin and voice at Texas Western College (now University of Texas at El Paso). He played with the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and was principal violinist.
He earned a master's degree in music education from the Columbia Teachers College in New York City, NY, in 1952, and studied voice with instructors from The Juilliard School.
Bill married Beverly Hope Tupper on Jan. 5, 1952, in El Paso. Children from this marriage were Kathryn Hope (deceased), Karen Tucker of Las Cruces, NM, and Patsene (Tucker, Twiss) Dashiell of Sequim. The marriage ended in amicable dissolution in November 1959.
Bill served in the U.S. Army from August 1952 to April 1954. A veteran of the Korean War, he achieved the rank of sergeant and was awarded the Silver Star Medal for his gallantry in action.
Bill led a full and active life. He played viola and violin in symphony orchestras and sang in the San Francisco Opera Company. For a brief time, he pursued a lifelong ambition, traveling to Germany to audition for the Hamburg Opera Company. He taught instrumental music in public schools, and later served as a school counselor and principal in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. He lent his talented tenor voice to numerous community productions and church choirs.
A man with a strong faith in God, Bill read his Bible and attended church regularly. He was intensely involved with his close-knit family, playing board games, traveling, camping, working crossword puzzles, talking, laughing, and eating ice cream.
An avid athlete, Bill played basketball and softball, but his favorite sport became tennis, which he played from high school until the age of 91 years.
Bill is survived by his wife of 59 years, Janet Lee (Watkins) Fairley, as well as children from their marriage: Leon Fairley of Sacramento, Calif.; Scott Fairley (Stacey) of Carmichael, Calif.; Kenin Fairley (Susan) of South Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Cecelia Fairley of San Francisco, Calif., and Lester Fairley (Terri) of Rancho Cordova, Calif.
Bill was blessed with grandchildren Chelsea Twiss and Hallie Twiss (Patsene), Samantha Fairley and Jeffrey Fairley (Kenin), and Gavin Fairley (Lester), as well as great-granddaughter Brooklyn AnnMarie Fairley (Jeffrey).
He was preceded in death by his parents, his infant daughter Kathryn Hope and adopted son Jason.
Memorial donations can be made to the Fremont Presbyterian Church Choir in Sacramento, Calif., or to the charity of your choice