OldArchive / Obituaries

Richard P. Fairchild,

Richard P. Fairchild, well-known Towanda businessman, passed away Friday, March 25, 2011 after having a cardiac arrest at home. Born Feb. 21, 1925 in Susquehanna, PA, a son of C. Myer and Ella Fitzgerald Fairchild. He earned the nickname "Brother" due to his affable nature.

In the 1930s his family moved to Towanda where his father "C.M." established the hardware store that Richard, along with his sister, Anne and brother, Robert, eventually came to operate. During World War II, he was a nose gunner aboard a Flying Fortress Bomber with the 8th Air Force. He flew on many dangerous missions over Berlin and was shot down on his 25th and final mission crash landing in occupied territory and walking for days before being rescued with his entire crew. He rarely spoke of such adventures for he believed duty should be served quietly.

Honorably discharged a Staff Sergeant with several medals to his credit, he returned to the United States and attended Mount St. Mary's College, the beginning of a college education that lasted on and off into his 60s. Soon after, he came to permanently join Fairchild's Hardware where he became a beloved fixture up until his passing. Richard was the perfect hardware man. He loved waiting on customers and tinkering in the corners of the store.

Few things gave him as much pride as finding things in his old building that no one else could. Well known for his wit and dry sense of humor, he always had a "jab" ready and one felt better having received it. Mr. Fairchild enjoyed flying and owned several planes over the years. He was often found hanging out at the Towanda Airport.

He enjoyed traveling and camping in his RV. A devout Catholic, he attended SS Peter and Paul Church in Towanda. He served as an ambulance driver in Towanda for many years and was a member of the Knights of Columbus as well as many other civic organizations over his lifetime. Richard was a simple, kind, warm man whose presence among us will be sorely missed.

Survivors include his son, Frank Sheppard of Delaware; brother, Thomas Fairchild of Towanda; sister, Genevieve Parsons of Binghamton, NY and numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Robert J. Fairchild; sister, Anne Fairchild VanNess and close friend, Vera Gaylord.

A memorial mass will be celebrated at noon on Saturday, April 2, 2011 at SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Third St., Towanda. Towanda American Legion Post No. 42 will accord military honors at the church. Interment will be private. There are no calling hours.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to St. Agnes School, 102 Third St., Towanda, PA 18848, in Richard's memory.

The Maryott-Bowen Funeral Home of Towanda is assisting the family with arrangements.

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