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March 9, 1930 ~ October 19, 2023 (age 93) 93 Years Old
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Robert P. Fairman, age 93, of Grand Rapids passed away peacefully on Thursday, October 19 at his home at the Village of Heather Hills surrounded by his family.
Robert “Bob” was born in Lansing, MI on March 9, 1930. He graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Business in 1952. Bob went on to the U.S. Air Force as a lieutenant serving in the Korean War. He married the love of his life, Rudean (Deane) Roth of Bay City in June of 1953 and they returned to Camp Kilmer, NJ where he was stationed. In 1955, he went back to graduate school at Michigan State and earned his M.A. in Accounting. Upon graduation, he was employed by Touche, Niven, Bailey & Smart (now Deloitte) and spent 30 years with the firm serving as Partner-in-Charge of the tax department at the Chicago office, and later as the Managing Partner of the Northeast Ohio region based in Cleveland. While in Cleveland, Bob was honored to be appointed Goodyear Executive Professor of Business Administration at Kent State University. He also was on the Board of Directors of the firm for many years and served as President of the Touche Ross Foundation. Bob retired from Deloitte after 30+ years and returned to Grand Rapids in 1984 to become a partner and help build the investment management firm of Norris, Perne & French.
Bob was an integral part of the Grand Rapids community, having served on the Grand Rapids Symphony Board, as President of the Grand Rapids Rotary, and as President of the Gerald R. Ford Council for the Boy Scouts of America. As an Eagle Scout himself, Bob was an inspiration to his four grandsons who also obtained the rank of Eagle Scout. In 1988, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, presented by the National Eagle Scout Association. A former member of the Michigan State golf team, he enjoyed a lifetime of golf and served as a Board member of the Kent and Firestone Country Clubs.
Bob and Rudean resided in five different cities over Bob’s career, wintered in Venice, Florida, and traveled the world with dear friends, which included trips to Russia, Alaska, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Australia. Their trips culminated in 2012 with a wonderful two-week tour of Ireland with their four children and their spouses. With all their moves, the Fairman family cabin on the Little Manistee River has been the anchor and has provided a place for family and friends to gather over the past 57 years, including an annual gathering with ‘the Brothers of the Bond’ for trout opener, fly fishing, tubing, kayaking, cribbage playing, and eating grandma’s and grandpa’s homemade ice cream. Bob and Rudean would tell you that they have enjoyed a rich and fulfilling life and have been blessed with a life of no regrets.
Bob and Rudean recently celebrated 70 years of a loving marriage. Bob is survived by his wife, Rudean, and their four children Rob (Cathy) of Bakersfield, CA; Nancy (David Voges) of Traverse City, MI; Kate Fairman (Bill Queen) of Cedar, MI; and Jen (David Kirchgessner) of East Grand Rapids, MI. Bob and Rudean have been blessed with 13 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Bob exemplified the values expressed in the Boy Scout Oath and Law as he lived a life of service to God, his country, family, and community. He always fulfilled his duty to do his best with honor, honesty, and integrity. Bob cherished his friendships and loved his family above all
else. He was a faithful member of Mayflower Congregational Church. A last message to his family said, “I love you all and will meet you again in Heaven as life goes on.”
For those who wish to make a memorial contribution, please consider a donation to Boy Scouts of America: 3213 Walker Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49544, the Grand Rapids Symphony: 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Ste 100, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, or the charity of your choice. A private family interment will be held at the columbarium at Mayflower Congregational Church.