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ROBERT FAIRBANKS


1944 - 2019

Colonel Robert A. Fairbanks
July 9, 1944 - June 4, 2019

NORMAN
Robert Alvin Fairbanks passed away June 4, 2019 at his home surrounded by his wife and children. Robert was born in Oklahoma City on July 9, 1944 to Albert and Lucille Fairbanks. He was the eldest of eight children. Robert graduated from Capitol Hill High School in 1962. In 1967, he married Linda Geer, and together they had six children. Robert was a medical negligence attorney in Norman, Oklahoma.
He enjoyed fishing with his children and grandchildren, coaching softball, and serving as a Scout Leader. He was an animal lover and advocate. In retirement, he enjoyed making Native American flutes and drums and researching and writing on Native American history, culture, and law.
Robert valued education and was constantly learning something new. He encouraged his children, and even strangers he would meet around town, to pursue various educational opportunities. He graduated in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science and later earned a Juris Doctor from The University of Oklahoma, a Master of Business Administration and Master of Criminal Justice Administration from Oklahoma City University, a Master of Laws from Columbia University, a Master of Arts in Medical Sciences from Stanford University, and Master of Education from Harvard University. Robert was a professor of law and political science at several universities.
A member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Robert was an advocate for Native American rights and advancement. He was the Founder, President, and Executive Director of The Native American College Preparatory Center in Minnesota, which provided Native American students with challenging educational opportunities. An expert on Native American law and the founding Editor-in-Chief of The American Indian Law Review at the University of Oklahoma School of Law, Robert authored several books, scholarly articles, and commentaries on Native American sovereignty and constitutional law issues, for which he won several awards.
Robert served in the United States Air Force as a contracting and manufacturing officer, logistics officer, and judge advocate. He was a Veteran of the Vietnam War, assigned to First Flight Detachment, 90th Special Operations Squadron, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam - Studies and Observation Group. He was a graduate of the Air War College. He retired in 1992 in the grade of Colonel after 25 years of service. Robert's military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Vietnam Honor Staff Service Medal First Class, and numerous other awards and decorations.
He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Richard Edward Fairbanks. He is survived by Linda, his wife of 52 years and their six children: Chele Crosby and husband Durand, Kim Fairbanks, Robert Fairbanks II, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Fairbanks and wife Marissa, Richard Fairbanks and wife Jessika, Joseph Fairbanks and wife Alexandra; grandchildren: Carl Wienecke and wife Monica, Alex Crosby, Nicholas Crosby, Bailey Fairbanks, Nathaniel Wilkins, Tyler Wilkins, Benjamin Fairbanks, and Dahlia Fairbanks; siblings: Tawana Fairbanks, Duane Fairbanks, Denise Landrum, Priscilla Fairbanks, Johnny Mac Fairbanks, Kathryn Fairbanks; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Family has decided to honor Robert's wishes with a private service.
Published in The Oklahoman on June 16, 2019
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