Cover photo for James Fairbanks's Obituary
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1931 James 2022

James Fairbanks

September 25, 1931 — June 18, 2022

Red Wing

James Joseph Fairbanks, 90, of Red Wing, died Saturday, June 18, 2022, at his home.   He was born September 25, 1931, in Rochester, Minnesota, to George and Lena (Brisson) Fairbanks.  He grew up in Red Wing, and graduated from Red Wing Central High School in 1949.  “Shine” a nickname he picked up in high school, then enlisted in the US Air Force, serving until he was honorably discharged.  After his military service, he attended Mankato State Teachers College, where he received his business degree.  On June 4, 1954, he was united in marriage to Donna Lee Meyer.  They lived in Mankato for a few years before returning to Red Wing.  He worked as a buyer for Montgomery Ward and for the State of MN as a bank examiner, prior to his 30 plus year career with Red Wing Shoe, which he retired from in 1992.  In his free time, James enjoyed golfing and spending time fishing at the cabin in Canada and he loved watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s sporting events and activities.  Shine was a great story teller, had a competitive nature and great sense of humor.

He is survived by his wife, of 68 years, Donna Lee; 7 children, Scott (Jeannie) Fairbanks, LeeAnn (Scott Bremer) Lohmann, Mike (Jo) Fairbanks, Kristen (Jon) Bohmbach, Mimi (Eric) Edon, Jonathan Fairbanks and Missy (Jeff) Anderson; 16 grandchildren; 27 great-grandchildren; a brother, Bernard (Mary Kay) Fairbanks and a foster sister, Joyce Rea.  He was preceded in death by his parents, and a son-in-law, James Lohmann.

A private family memorial service will be held and burial will take place at Calvary Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Mayo Clinic Hospice—Red Wing or Red Wing Booster Club.  Arrangements handled by Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel.  Online condolences may be sent to the family at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Fairbanks, please visit our flower store.


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