Martha Jane Fair
June 7, 1935-Feb. 19, 2021
After more than 60 years of living in Alaska, former Indiana farm girl Martha Jane Fair died at the Horizon House assisted-living facility in Anchorage, with family by her side, on the morning of Feb. 19, 2021. She was 85.
Jane-as she preferred to be called-was born Martha Jane Jump on June 7, 1935, in her parents' farmhouse in Deer Creek Township, Cass County, Indiana. The youngest of three children of Frank and Gladys Jump, she lived at home until, at age 21, on June 17, 1956, she married Calvin Munson Fair, from the nearby town of Walton. Calvin's father had been Jane's dentist in Walton, and Calvin himself was attending dental school in Indianapolis and dreaming of a life in Alaska.
On Oct. 19, 1957, Jane's parents drove her and her set of gray luggage to Kokomo, Indiana, where she boarded a twin-engine Lake Central Airlines DC-3 on the first step of her journey to join Calvin at the Whittier Army Station on the Kenai Peninsula. She was four months pregnant with her first child, and she found herself dismayed by military life, by Alaska's cold and its deep snow, and by the great distance between her and her family. After the Fairs, including their infant son, left the Army station in 1959, Jane never returned to Whittier, even though she went on to live on the peninsula for six more decades.
On Oct. 3, 1960, Jane and Calvin arrived in Soldotna, where Calvin set up a dental practice while Jane set up housekeeping in Burton Carver's trailer court. The following year, they bought a relinquished homestead between Soldotna and Sterling, and welcomed their second child, a daughter, to the family. During the remainder of the 1960s, the Fairs built a big white house on a bluff overlooking the middle Kenai River, added another son to the family, and finally bought a telephone. Jane and Calvin became founding members of the Soldotna United Methodist Church, ushered all three kids through public school and college, and reveled in good friends and good neighbors. Jane made friends easily wherever she went, even on vacation. Her address books and Christmas-card lists needed constant expansion over the years.
Together, Jane and Calvin created a 47-acre conservation easement from the bottom quarter of their homestead, and built a subdivision in the upper quarter. After Calvin's death in 2007, Jane lived on the homestead for five more years before moving into Soldotna to be closer to other people, her church and her favorite activities, including her weekly hair appointments. She had heart surgery in 2013 and began to experience acute memory loss a few years later. Since none of her children lived in the immediate area, she decided to move to Anchorage to live communally and be closer to her daughter.
Jane was a member of and volunteer for the Soldotna Historical Society and a staunch supporter of the Performing Arts Society and other purveyors of music and the arts on the central Kenai Peninsula.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother John Jump, and her husband.
She is survived by her children, Clark Fair (and partner Yvonne Leutwyler) of Homer, Janeice Amick (and husband Dave) of Anchorage, and Lowell Fair (and wife Julie) of Juneau; brother and sister-in-law Charles and Lois Jump of Walton; brother-in-law Steve Fair of Sterling; sister-in-law Joyce Beechy of Walton; grandchildren, Kelty Fair of Sterling and Olivia Fair-Lafferty (and husband Chris) of San Antonio, Texas, and Abby Amick of Anchorage; and many nieces and nephews in Alaska and Outside.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Soldotna United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, the Performing Arts Society of the Kenai Peninsula, and the Soldotna Historical Society and Museum.
Arrangements have been made by Anchorage Funeral Home & Crematory. Services may be announced sometime this summer.
Published in Peninsula Clarion on Feb. 24, 2021.