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Robin Fairbairn obituary

Posted: Monday, Feb 11th, 2013

PASO ROBLES — Robin Hart Fairbairn, 78, died on Jan. 18, 2013, surrounded by his loving family.

Robin was born in November 1934. Robin lived an illustrious life. He was born and raised in Orange County of Hawaiian heritage, he attended school in Orange. His first job, at the age of 6 years old, was delivering the Orange Daily News, which was owned by his grandfather. While in elementary school, he co-founded and edited The Maple Leaf, a school newspaper. He was his junior high school student body President. At Orange High School, he lettered in football, basketball and track, and he still holds the football CIF record for an 89-yard punt.

He earned his undergraduate degree in business and anthropology from University of California Berkeley where he earned his “Big C” in track and field (high jumping) his sophomore year. He was also on the basketball and track teams, winning freshman numerals in track. He participated in the Psi Upsilon Fraternity and the Skull and Keys Fraternity. He was a member of the USN ROTC program, where he was a unit supply officer, a company commander, a participant of the drill team, and was ranked No. 1 Midshipman his first year. He was offered a scholarship to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, which he declined, and he was the keynote speaker for the Commissioning Ceremony.

After graduation, he spent two years in the Navy, where he was assigned the West Pac. He participated in the ship’s volleyball and basketball team on the USS Los Angeles, where his team won the tournament at the Long Beach Naval Base. After discharging from the service, he spent six months living and traveling in Australia before going on to obtain his law degree from UC Los Angeles. There, he was member of the Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity and graduated in the top 20 percent of his class. While obtaining his law degree, he was a teaching assistant at the graduate School of Business Administration.

He started a law practice in Orange. Early in his career, he taught business law at Fullerton Junior College. He was the Chairman of the Orange May Festival, a member of the JayCees and a member of the Orange County Bar Barristers Club, participating in the Legal Reference Committee. He was a licensed real estate broker since 1966. He started his family in Orange, moving them to Humboldt County and later teaching business law at Humboldt State University on a part-time basis. It was in Humboldt County that he became a licensed pilot, instrument rated.

In 1976, he met Rossie, the love of his life. Their first major trip together was a month long honeymoon in their infamous four-seater Cessna 182 aircraft. They started their new life together by settling in Hidden Valley Ranch in 1978. He set up his law practice in Paso Robles and never looked back. In 1985, he purchased the historic Paso Robles Bathhouse, which they renovated and where he practiced law until 2002.

Robin made quite a name for himself in San Luis Obispo County. He sat on various commissions and boards, including the Paso Robles Library Foundation, Paso Robles Parks and Recreation Commission, the Mozart Festival, Art in Special Places, the Paso Robles Façade Improvement Program, the Hidden Valley Ranch Homeowners Association, First Tee Central Coast, and the SLO County Sheriff’s Aero Squadron. He was a member of BNI, and was proud to be a Rotarian — he was very pleased to be half of the only dad/daughter pair in the Paso Robles club, and he proudly sat in the dog pound, causing good-natured trouble. He won awards for photography and his homemade beer at the Mid-State Fair, and was the subject of a newspaper article on “Musical Adults – Never Too Old To Learn.” He was a member of the State Bar of California, the SLO Bar Association — participating on the Judicial Liaison and Fast Track Committees — the Central Coast Trial Lawyers Association, and was the former chair of the State Bar Committee on Domestic Relations for six years.

A lifelong Republican, he was the “Reagan for President” chair in SLO County in 1980, hosting a fundraiser featuring Nancy Reagan as the principal speaker. Later, he was chosen to be the delegate for the “Peaceful Uses of Outer Space” Program during the Reagan administration, and he and Rossie traveled to Austria to meet with foreign dignitaries from around the world. He was the first American lawyer to be cleared for practicing law in the Yunnan province, negotiating several business deals between American and Chinese partners. He lectured to the Yunnan Law Society on the effect of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization.

He and Rossie traveled the world, sometimes alone and sometimes with their dear friends. They took many trips to such far-away places as Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Finland, China, Russia, Mexico, the Greek Isles, Prague and Tahiti. He was honored to be a guest lecturer on Estate Planning with Princess Cruises, travelling to Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, the Falkland Islands, Hawaii and Alaska. He enjoyed the outdoors, sharing his love of backpacking with his children, grandchildren and nephews. His hobbies included three acres of dry-farmed Syrah grapes, raising and racing pigeons, reading voraciously and several years of volunteering at the Paso Robles Senior Center giving free legal advice.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ranald and Jean Fairbairn.

He is survived by his adoring wife, Rossie Fairbairn; their children, Sydney Fairbairn, Hillary Pedrotti (Buzz), Adam Fairbairn (Anjanie), Natalie Schaefer (Mike) and Brent Cook (Sherri ); his siblings, Bill (Jane), Stacy (Ron) and Sherman (Barbara); grandchildren, Nathan, Tyler, Grace, William, Ross, Phoebe, Paige, and Fiona; nieces and nephews, Jake, Aaron, Beau, Michael, Nicholas, Elizabeth, Evan, Casey and Kadi; and an ever-growing set of great-grandchildren, grandnieces and grandnephews.

The family gives a special “thank you” to his sister-in-law, Barbara Fairbairn, for her caring touch during Robin’s passing.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the American Cancer Society or Central Coast Hospice in Robin’s name. Services will occur Feb. 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. in Paso Robles at the Downtown City Park.

For the complete article see the 01-30-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-30-2013 paper.

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