James Joseph Fair

Macken Funeral Home Memorial Photo
Date of Birth:
Thursday, August 30, 1956
Date of Death:
Monday, July 12, 2021
Age:
64 years old

Visitation

Date: Friday July 23, 2021
Time: 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Memorial Mass

Date: Friday July 23, 2021
Time: 1:30 pm

Location: River Park Chapel at Macken Funeral Home [ view map ]

Live Streaming

Please CLICK HERE to view the livestream of his memorial service.  The link will be live a few minutes before the service.

Macken Funeral Home Memorial Photo
Date of Birth:
Thursday, August 30, 1956
Date of Death:
Monday, July 12, 2021
Age:
64 years old
Macken Funeral Home Memorial Photo
Date of Birth:
Thursday, August 30, 1956
Date of Death:
Monday, July 12, 2021
Age:
64 years old

James Joseph Fair

James (Jim) Joseph Fair of Rochester, MN and formerly of Big Lake/Monticello, MN passed away at home on Monday July 12th, 2021 surrounded by his loved ones. He is preceded in death by his parents, Eugene and Anna (Marchand) Fair. He is survived by his wife Cindy (Jarvis), his daughter Laces, son-in-law Greg and two grandchildren, Benjamin James and Nora Elizabeth Vaughn. Jim is also survived by his siblings: Barbara (Dick) Litzen of Olathe, KS; Bonnie (Bud) Barlow of Plano TX; Robert (Joyce) of Omaha NE; Renee (John) Underwood of Arlington VA; Richard (Cheryl) of Gold Canyon AZ/Battle Lake MN; and Joseph (Lisa) of Corinth TX as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Jim was born on August 30, 1956. He and Cindy were married in 1984, they owned homes in St. Michael and Big Lake. In December of 2020, they purchased a home in Rochester near their daughter. Jim was a wonderful husband, a beloved grandfather, and the best daddy a girl could ever ask for.

Jim and Cindy enjoyed traveling, taking trips on their motorcycle and camping with the grandchildren. Jim cherished time spent with family and friends. He took great pride in his lawn and with his generous spirit, assisted many throughout the years with their irrigation systems. Jim loved children and being a big kid himself, he was always ready to play. His infectious laugh will echo in our hearts forever.

Jim was a true gentleman, strong in faith and determination. A private man, he was never one to focus on himself, always putting others first. He was an inspiration to us all and will be greatly missed.

Jim was blessed to have an extraordinary medical team at the Mayo Clinic in charge of his care. With gratitude and much love to Dr. Whitford, Emily Black, NP, Maureen, Karen, Brent and the entire Mayo Hospice team.

We don’t get to choose our time.
Death is what gives life meaning,
to know your days are numbered,
your days are short.
After all this time,
stretching one moment to another,
Just so I can watch the snow.

EULOGY:

James Joseph Fair was born on August 31, 1956, the fifth of seven children. We don’t know why our parents selected the name “James”, but his middle name paid homage to Joseph Marchand, his great-great grandfather (1793 – 1853). Jim was baptized by Fr. Henry Boerboom at St Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Osseo, in September of 1956.

Jim married Cindy Ann Jarvis on September 22, 1984 at St. Henry’s in Monticello and later adopted her daughter, Laces, who gave him and Cindy two beautiful grandchildren, Benjamin James and Nora Elizabeth. He and Cindy owned homes in St. Michael and Big Lake and had recently purchased a condo in Rochester near their daughter and her family.

Jim had blond hair and light skin, but otherwise resembled his grandfather, Anthony Marchand who died two months before Jim was born. Like his father and both of his grandfathers, he loved the land and was knowledgeable about farming. Jim wanted to take over the family business after mom and dad retired but at that time, little was known about the origins and effects of Type I diabetes. In consultation with their family physician, dad and mom were advised not to sell him the business, a decision that dad regretted until the day he died.

Jim spent most of his career in Advertising Sales and Publishing. He began with Miller Publishing, a National Trade Show Company where he sold exhibit space. From there, he purchased The Citizen, a newspaper for the Big Lake and Becker areas. Not only was he the editor and publisher, but he was also involved in all phases of running the paper, from reporting on social events to selling advertising space. That experience was instrumental in Jim purchasing Midwest Players from Bob Mead Enterprises. Midwest Players was an event and advertising newspaper that catered to the casino patrons in the upper Midwest. When print media began to lose its market share, he sold the newspaper and was hired by the Internal Revenue Service to handle training and customer service calls.

Life was not easy for Jim. It was almost as though all the travails a family could endure were dumped into his wheelhouse. He developed Type 1 diabetes in August of 1969 and started dialysis on February 10, 1986. He endured major surgery countless times. However, good luck and the generosity of strangers changed the trajectory of his life. While Jim was in the dialysis unit of a Minneapolis hospital, a young man was killed in a motorcycle accident and his parents, like angels on earth, donated his organs. Jim was called from the dialysis unit to the operating room where he received one of the young man’s kidneys in a four-hour operation in September of 1986. When that cadaver kidney began failing seventeen years later, his Mayo Clinic doctors urged him to seek a live donor within our family. Barbara met the requirements, and the transplant was done on August 29, 2003. Barbara said of that experience, “Some people search their whole lives for their purpose. I found mine on August 29, 2002. I was a kidney donor for my brother Jim. My part was easy, his was much harder but he never complained and always seemed to be in a positive mood. Life wasn’t always easy with that kidney: more drugs, side effects, continuation of diabetes. But his gift to me was watching him enjoy life, his beautiful wife and daughter, his son-in-law, and of course those grandkids. Jim was and always will be my hero.”

Having gone through the pain and suffering associated with a debilitating disease and all the surgeries, a lesser man would have soured on life, full of bitterness for his fate. But that just wasn’t Jim. He was fiercely independent and committed in his refusal to allow diabetes to define his life. We will always remember that about him.

We’ve told you some details of Jim’s life. Now let us tell you a few recollections about our brother.

BARBARA: In 1989, the entire Fair clan spent a week at Mill Creek Resort near Branson. This was our first family trip, and Rick bought his boat, so we spent most of our time on the water. The kids loved it and didn’t pay too much attention to keeping themselves slathered with sunscreen. Our son Marc got such a bad burn on his lily white feet that he developed blisters that broke and oozed a liquid that Jim called “blister juice” as he cackled his distinctive laugh. When any of us got too much sun, Jim would remind us that if we got blisters, we too would ooze blister juice. And then he would cackle. I don’t think we’ll ever forget that story and his infectious laugh. ***Jim once told us this story about Cindy’s driving skills. On a trip to Kansas City many years ago, Jim asked Cindy to drive while he took a nap. Cindy had been driving for a while when Jim started bouncing around in his seat. He woke up to find Cindy speeding about 75 mph through a construction zone. “What the hxxll is going on?” was Jim’s first comment! Cindy told him that she had the cruise control on, didn’t know how to turn it off, and didn’t want to wake him. As always, those two found a way to make their life together interesting, and whatever they did was always done with love.

BONNIE: I left home when Jim was four years old, so my memories are more from interacting with him as an adult, except when I visited him in the hospital after his initial diagnosis. When I walked in, he was practicing how to give himself a shot using a syringe and an orange. I remember the determined look on his face as he jabbed that orange.*** He was always so easy to get along with. I never heard him say a bad word about anyone, and his laugh was just so infectious.*** Shortly before they decided to sell their Big Lake house, he called me and in the course of our conversation he mentioned that he wished he could remodel his bathroom, but Cindy didn’t like to change things. I told him to “just do it!” He got caught up in the excitement and agreed that was what he was going to do. Several weeks later we talked, and I asked him how the remodel was coming. His reply, “Oh, I can’t do that, Bonnie I like being married too much.” We had a good laugh about that. *** When I’d come home to visit mom at St. Ben’s, he and Cindy would invite us over for supper. He made the best grilled, bone-in pork chops! *** Jim loved going to movies and he loved to experience new things.

BOB: We had some wonderful snowmobile trips to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We’d rent a cabin on Lost Lake or Copper Harbor and then spend all day riding from bar to bar playing pool and just hanging out. Rick was the guy in charge of the maps and was our point man, with Jim, Cindy, me and sometimes one other person following behind. Jim just loved snowmobiling. He loved the speed (we could go 60 – 80 miles an hour in the UP) and he loved being outside on the snow all day. We always had a great time.

RENEE: A few memories stand out when I think of Jim. He was a towheaded little kid with glasses, skinny legs and baggy shorts. I loved his giggle! *** Jim and Cindy visited us in the D.C. area and also came to California when our son got married. He’d spend as much time as possible sightseeing. Jim was really smart and really curious. He loved to learn, and he had a keen interest in history.

JOE: I remember when Jim was about 14 and he wanted to visit a friend of his while Mom and Dad were gone. So, he got in the car and drove over to his friend’s house. But he forgot that he had to drive on a road that went past four friends of our parents. Sure enough, the next day all four called the folks and asked them if Jim got his driving license early. He got in trouble over that.

When we heard these words recently, we thought of our brother:

We don’t get to choose our time.

Death is what gives life meaning,

to know your days are numbered,

your days are short.

After all this time,

stretching one moment to another,

just so I can watch the snow.

 

 

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Condolences

The family of James Joseph Fair has received the following condolences.

We feel so blessed to have had Jim in our lives and to call him family! He was one of the dearest, most heartfelt, kind and one of the strongest men we know!! He would enter a room and the entire room would shine. He had the greatest sense of humor!! Just hearing him laugh would put you in the greatest moods! There were so many times that he would make me laugh out loud and not always in a place that I should be laughing, but that was what was so special about him. He would help a person to be at ease and enjoy life!! He taught us so many things about what a person should do and how we should be; do for others, be strong, don't feel sorry for yourself, love life and love your family with your entire soul!! We are going to miss Jim more than what I can put into words!!! Cindy, Lace, Greg, Ben and Nora, stay strong and depend on family and friends to help you through this time!!  Love you so very, very much!!!!!


Love Dan, Deb and Family


 


 

My sincere condolences to you, Cindy, and your family.  The essence of Jim's life and his love of family and friends is evident by the memories he built and left with you all.


I am sorry I will not be able to be with you all at his sending off.  I will miss sharing the tears and the laughter.


His soul rests in the arms of God.  May peace surround you at this time.


Mary


 

So sorry to hear of Jim's passing.  Living I. Rochester, I was so happy to have seen him recently and he was in great spirits.  It was blessing to me to read the Eulogy here.  I'm sad that I will be out of town on the day of the service remembering Jim. 

This man has raised an outstanding daughter. I was not fortunate enough to meet him but with Laces as his legacy, it is clear he was an amazing man. I am so very sorry for the pain you all feel in losing him.

Cindy and family, So sorry for your loss. Jim was a wonderful classmate. We had lots of good times in school. He was always smiling or laughing. That is what I will remember the most about Jim.

Cindy, we are SO sad to learn of Jim's passing. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to you and Lacey. We go way back to 1992, when we moved to Big Lake and bought the house next door..... The three of you came walking up the driveway, plate of brownies in hand, welcoming us to the neighborhood. Our daughters played together and became good friends, as did the four of us. Thanks for being such great neighbors for 28 years, and for all the fun memories. We will always remember Jim's entertaining stories and his wonderful laugh. And, of course, seeing him out on the John Deere, tending to his fabulous lawn! He was a great guy and is gone way too soon.  We're so very sorry for your loss and are thinking of you and your family. 


With Love,


John & Sue McNeil

Angels are always near to those who are grieving. To whisper to them that their loved one is safe in the hands of God.  So sorry for your families loss. 

Our love, prayers and sympathy to all of you. Cindy, so glad you and Jim had the additional time together and feel blessed with days spent together. Love always, Jo Smith

We wish you peace and comfort at this time.  Cling on to the great memories that you have of Jim and hold them in your heart.  Sending our love.