Betsy Fairbank

Betsy V. Fairbank

Monday, January 9th, 1928 - Monday, February 17th, 2020
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Betsy Volles Fairbank passed away peacefully on Monday, February 17, 2020 at the age of 92. Betsy was born in Fayetteville, New York, graduated from Fayetteville High School, and studied art and design at the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia.

An avid gardener and florist, she was a floral arranger at Five Seasons in Fayetteville. She created several gardens, including perennial, knot and herb gardens at her 200-year-old home on Palmer Road in Manlius. Because the house was part of the underground railroad and an historical landmark, Betsy welcomed school children into her home to teach them about open hearth cooking and show them the space upstairs where fugitives would hide during raids on the house during the 1800s.

Betsy was a dedicated volunteer with Girl Scouts of America, serving as a scout leader and a trainer of new scout leaders. As an active member of A Better Chance organization, she helped to establish and decorate the home for girls in Manlius, New York and one of the girls, Konnie Rice (then Konnie Whitfield) from the Bronx, became a beloved part of Betsy’s family, visiting on weekends. Betsy was a volunteer for numerous charitable organizations including the Onondaga Historical Association, Zonta Club of Syracuse, Red Cross bloodmobiles, the Pompey Historical Society, the Manlius Museum, and the Syracuse Developmental Center. She was a generous donor to the Fayetteville Free Library, where she hosted her own 90th birthday party in January, 2018. At the party she declared: “I want to be with all of you now while I am still alive, and this may be our last chance before you come to my funeral, so enjoy yourselves.”

Betsy is survived by her four children, Steve Fairbank (wife Diane), Joel Fairbank, Patti Fowler (husband Dave), and Gail Fairbank-Roch (husband Alain); her five grandchildren, Adiraja Fairbank (wife Sarah), Narada Fairbank (wife Laurie), Joshua Fairbank, Joel Fairbank and Tristan Fowler (wife Christine); as well as five great-grandchildren, Everett, Corinna, Kellen, Lillian, and Mira Grace.

Betsy is pre-deceased by her husband, Bob Fairbank, whom she married in 1950; her father, Arthur Volles (World War I veteran); mother, Ethel Jones Volles; brother, Dave Volles (World War II veteran); sisters, Anna Jane Volles, Patricia Robinson; and foster sister, Leola Fey.

Betsy loved flower arranging, gardening, reading, swimming, painting, creating artwork with dried flowers, identifying medicinal plants in the wild, going to museums, collecting antiques, watching movies and visiting botanical gardens. She loved to spend time with her extended family, including her former daughters-in-law, Usha and Karry and the friends and loved ones of her children. Growing up, she spent summers at the camp her father built at Deruyter Lake and shared this experience with her brother and sister and their families. As her children became older, they spent summers together visiting family in Falmouth Foreside, Maine. She traveled widely with her husband Bob, accompanying him on business trips to Belgium, Switzerland, Mexico, and several Caribbean Islands, as well as taking a cruise on the Queen Elizabeth I. As part of the community at Maple Downs in Fayetteville (2018-2020), she enjoyed reorganizing the library, attending costume parties, baking gluten free desserts for friends, and welcoming new arrivals.

A casual gathering in celebration of Betsy’s life will be held from 3-5 p.m. on Friday, March 20 at the Lincklaen House in Cazenovia, New York.

Contributions may be made to the Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St. Fayetteville, NY 13066.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, March 20th, 2020 | 3:00pm - 5:00pm
    Friday, March 20th, 2020 3:00pm - 5:00pm
    Lincklaen House
    79 Albany Street
    Cazenovia, New York 13035
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Posted at 08:59pm
Betsy was one of those wonderful Mothers of our youth who, with her husband, helped make her children, other children, and myself good citizens, who also knew how to laugh and smile. Her whole family is wonderful, and added so much to all others around her. A great lady. Jamieson R. Steele

Beth Jobes

Posted at 12:39pm
Betsy and my Mother Fran Gates were good friends...I remember her well. She will always be a part of her family’s life in their memories.

Juana Cruz

Posted at 08:36am
At this sorrowful period in your life, please accept my sincerest condolences for the death of your loved one.  Reflecting on the divine promises found in the Bible will give you hope and strength to keep going until all of God's promises are fulfilled. (Romans 15:13; John 5:28, 29).
B Posted at 10:29am

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Volles-Fairbank families. What a wonderful , kind and good person Betsy was. She and her brother always brought a smile to us with their good natured ways. They were the salt of the earth. Rest In Peace dear Betsy. Paulene Eggers

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