fairbanks_the_pictureBill Fairbanks, a former coach and longtime teacher at Venice High School, died peacefully in Santa Monica April 7. He was 77.
Born on May 8, 1935, in rural Spring Lake, Mich., Fairbanks was a U.S. Marine who patrolled the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Korea before returning to Camp Pendleton in California as a Marine Corps drill instructor.
A graduate of UCLA in physical education/kinesiology, he was hired to teach P.E. at Palms Junior High School and later transferred to Venice High.
At Venice, Fairbanks coached basketball, baseball, golf and swimming and chaired the P.E. department. He was best known as a football coach who earned the respect of his players and colleagues.
Fairbanks proudly was a charter member of United Teachers Los Angeles. He married his “beautiful green-eyed lady,” Wendy, in 1972 and lovingly helped raise her son Erik Pedersen and her younger sister Kellie Flanagan.
In addition to Wendy, Erik and Kellie, Fairbanks is survived by his sister-in-law Jill Flanagan; brother-in-law David Briley; daughter-in-law Susan Pedersen; niece Clara Fairbanks Flanagan Briley; and grandsons Ian, Tyler and Gavin Pedersen; brother Terry Flanagan and his sons, Terry and Pat.
Because of his renowned ability for telling a story, a public “storytelling memorial” was held May 4 at the Venice High School auditorium, where hundreds of past colleagues, students, players and friends shared stories and their love for Coach Fairbanks.
The Venice High Alumni Association has established a scholarship in his name. Information about the scholarship and pictures from the storytelling can be found online at www.venicehighalumni.com.
The Gondolier Boosters have renamed their annual golf tournament to the Bill Fairbanks Gondo Golf Classic. This year’s tournament will be held on June 17 in Canyon Country.