Dr. Leighton E. “Leigh” Fairbairn, 91, of Edmond, Oklahoma and formerly of Garden City, Kansas, died Friday, April 9, 2021 surrounded by his family. He was born April 20, 1929, in Claflin, Kansas, the son of John E. “Ed” and Frieda Grossardt Fairbairn. He grew up in the Claflin area, graduated from Claflin High School and was very active in athletics – football, basketball and track. In his senior year, he was voted President of his class.
Upon finishing high school, he enrolled at Kansas State College and graduated with the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. While in college, he was a member of the Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity and a member of the Alpha Zeta Honor Society. Upon graduation he set up a practice in Kinsley and married his long time sweetheart, Marilyn Blankenship from Great Bend. In two years, he was called to active duty from his ROTC as a Base Veterinarian at an Air Base in Oscoda, Michigan. He spent a two year tour of active duty as was required in ROTC. The Korean War was over. He returned to veterinary practice, not in Kinsley, but to Garden City with Dr. M. P. “Jack” Reeve where he practiced veterinary medicine for over 30-years. He transitioned to financial planning where he guided families in funding their children’s college and future retirement.
He provided financial planning for over 18-years until retiring in 2001. Throughout his life he became active in professional, civic, and church organizations. He was a member of the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association, holding several offices and as president in 1982. In 1986, he was chosen the KVMA Veterinarian of the Year. He was a member of the Kansas Livestock Association for over 50 years. He was on the boards of the Kansas Board for Veterinary Technicians and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. He was also a lifetime member of the Kansas State Alumni Association.
In Garden City, he was a board member of Unified School District 457 (1971 to 1979) and a member of Rotary International and Rotary Foundation – Paul Harris Fellow, American Legion, and the YMCA. He was the Co-Chair of the Life Show for Beef Empire Days. He was a member of the United Methodist Church where he held several offices including Board of Trustees, Administration Board, and many committees. He was a Lay Leader and president of the Builders Sunday School Class.
Leighton enjoyed K-State sports, duck hunting, travel, working on 1968 - 69 Ford Mustangs, and genealogy. Leighton and Marilyn had football season tickets to K-State for over 30-years. They also enjoyed GCHS and GC JUCO football games and still attended well after the children had moved from home.
He was preceded in death by his parents Ed and Frieda Fairbairn and oldest son Kyle.
He is survived by his wife of 67-years, Marilyn, his son Scott (Principal – Landscape Architect) and Sheri, Edmond, OK, his daughter Jan Scott (Designer / Sales) and Jim, Dodge City, his son, Brad (Vice-president – Ingredient Procurement) and Kathy, Cornelia, GA, and his son Lance (Sales), Wichita, nine grandchildren, and thirteen great grandchildren.
Funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, April 16, 2021 at the First United Methodist Church in Garden City with Rev. Joel Plisek officiating. Visitation hours will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday at Garnand Funeral Home in Garden City and the family will be at the funeral home to visit with friends. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo in care of the funeral home. Condolences may be given at garnandfuneralhomes.com.
Funeral arrangements provided by
Garnand Funeral Home
412 N. 7th St.
Garden City, KS 67846
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, April 14, 2021