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Goodbye To A Friend

July 11, 2007

Thomas Fairchild '59, a much-loved fixture at UNH, passed away recently after a long battle with cancer. Fairchild served as former dean of UNH's College of Life Science and Agriculture, as well as interim president of the university. He was a long-time teacher who loved sharing his passion for dairy science with his students. In 2003 the university dedicated the Fairchild Dairy Barn and Research Center in his honor.

Read the eulogy given by Lorraine Merrill at his memorial service.

Fairchild, 69, of Littleworth Road in Dover, died July 3, at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. Born on Oct. 24, 1937, in Stamford, N.Y., the son of Lee and Janet (Leitzel) Fairchild, he was raised in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., and graduated from Mt. Kisco High School in1955.

Fairchild received a Bachelor of Science degree in dairy science from UNH before attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he earned both his Masters of Science and doctoral degrees in dairy science.

While attending UNH, he entered into the Army ROTC program. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, he served his country as a 1st lieutenant in the U.S. Army Infantry. He was stationed at both Ft. Benning and Ft. Knox. He resigned his commission in 1969.

Dairy science was his life and his passion. He was a professor at the University of Maryland from 1966-1969. The remainder of Fairchild's career was spent at UNH. He was a professor in the department of animal and nutritional sciences and was very involved as an extension dairy specialist. He served as the chair of his department and was dean of the College of Life Science and Agriculture from 1985-1994. He had served as interim president of UNH from 1994-1995.

Fairchild was proud of being involved with the development of CREAM (Cooperative for Read Education in Agricultural Management). A lifelong teacher, he officially retired in 2005 but continued to teach under his emeritus status until the time of his death.

He is survived by wife of 47 years, Joanne (Macurdy) Fairchild of Dover; his three daughters, Debbie Benyo and her husband, Brian, of Canfield, Ohio, Kathy Francoeur and her husband, Jeff, of Somersworth and Karen Reed and her husband, Ted, of Bolton, Mass.; sister, Kathy Phillips and her husband, Terry, of Ellicott City, Mo.; six grandchildren, Thomas and Brian Jr. Benyo, Miranda and Allie Francoeur and Jackson and Camden Reed. He is also survived by several nieces, nephews and cousins, especially his niece, Kate L. Kelly, who was by his side with his family during his illness.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are requested to either of the following, The Fairchild Scholarship Fund, c/o UNH Foundation, Inc., Elliott Alumni Center, 9 Edgewood Drive or Seacoast Palliative Care, c/o Dr. Patrick Alix, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, 789 Central Ave., Dover, NH 03820.

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