Fairs, John “Jack” Russell

Fairs, John “Jack” Russell

August 30th, 2021

August 22nd, 1923 – August 30th, 2021

Passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family, at University Hospital, in London, Ontario, on Monday, August 30, 2021. Survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Peigi; daughters, Nancie Fairs-Dickie (Ron), Kim Fairs-Cosens (Tony); and his son, John Fairs (Sally); grandchildren: Scott Dickie (Cassidy), Marshall (Kristen) and Kelsey Cosens, Jack Jr. and Andrew Fairs; and great-grandson, Zander Dickie. A native of Tillsonburg, Ontario, Jack was a naturally gifted, self-taught athlete. His lack of ever having a coach or mentor growing up led to and kindled his desire to fill this void for others, especially in tennis and baseball in London and Chatham. Jack attended the University of Western Ontario and graduated with an Honours Chemistry degree. At this time, there was no faculty of Physical Education at Western. After attending Columbia University in the City of New York for his master’s degree, Jack returned to London to help establish the newly formed PHRE at UWO, and fulfill his passion to teach and coach hence his designation as an “original builder.” This led to a lifetime of teaching, coaching and mentoring until he retired from teaching in 1989, and coaching in 2003. Jack never really retired, spending his Professor Emeritus years continuing to coach and mentor his successor(s). In true “Jack” fashion he would want everyone to celebrate his legacy, rather than mourn his passing. Funeral arrangements are being made for a private family service with a larger Celebration of Life to take place at a later date. Special thanks to all the doctors, nurses and PSWs at University, Victoria and Parkwood Hospitals. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Western University – Men’s Squash Team, ensuring Jack’s legacy continues.

Somewhere in your busy lives’ journey, I hope you consider expanding your experiences through a commitment to others in a way that suits your special needs and talents. You will feel most fully alive and will come to be your Best Self when you are working with others for the sake of a shared ideal” – Jack Fairs

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Book of Condolences

Emily (Chapman) CluttonJack Fairs was a living, breathing blessing way beyond the parameters of a coach. He taught me perseverance, self-discipline and respect for doing something to the best of one's ability. He gave me an education in playing tennis and growing in the grace of merging athleticism and honour for those shared ideals in the quote above. His sense of humour seasoned my life, and I'll always be in his debt. So thankful; so grateful. Our sympathy to his loving family; our gratitude to God for having shared Jack with us all.
Frank PykaAlways a laugh. Always a story. Always a smile. Always a good squash tip. Always a brighter day when you saw Jack.
Murray ShawHappy Jack always had a smile and story to tell. Jack recruited me from Toronto to come to London and play squash. Life changing since I am still here 43 years later. I am so happy that Jack was part of my life. My condolences to the family.
Helena M Smeenk PritchardIf it weren't for Jack's passion for tennis, and willingness to knock on every elementary school principle's door to get their permission to knock on every teacher's door in the school in his efforts to get a city sponsored junior tennis program up and running, I doubt I would have found tennis. Jack made his impassioned presentation to our class when I was 9 years old. I went straight home and told my parents "I want to play tennis." Then, Jack even went so far as to come to our house to persuade my parents to let me play in various tournaments, because we didn't know what we didn't know! I echo Emily's and Frank's comments. And will add to that, his sense of humour also showed in his teaching skills in my Cultural History of Phys Ed course. A student and friend of mine didn't come to many of Jack's classes. After many absences, Bill decided to attend and walked in through the front door of the classroom, where Jack was getting ready. Jack, noticing Bill's arrival, and obviously aware of his truancy didn't miss a beat and strode over to Bill and with a smile on his face extended his hand for a hand shake and said "Hi, I'm Jack Fairs." I lost count of the different shades of red that Bill's face turned!! He was masterful!!
Jay Loftus The Loftus family would like to send condolences to the Fairs family. Jack had a significant impact on my father's life. From his days running the parks for the PUC where my Dad (Frank), uncle and aunts participated in various activities, but especially tennis, to Western where Jack was a coach on the football team. Jack was very influential in my father's career as a Physical Education teacher and coach.
Marisa Bucci & Todd CosensOur condolences to your family on your loss. Thinking of you Kim, Marshall, Kristen, Kelsey, Sally and John.
Mary Margaret ProwseThe legacy Jack has left behind is immeasurable. So happy I was part of his tennis program at the London Life courts. A special memory of playing golf with him on his 90th birthday. He saved our team many times. Deepest sympathy Peigi to you and your family. Treasure the wonderful memories he has left behind
Dorothy(Cole)Woolley&VictorWe remember Jack, as a very special person with a beautiful smile who loved life with kindness and humour. He was positive and enthusiastic and everyone's friend. Jack has left an inspiring legacy for working with others with many tennis, squash and sports players through the years. He was a positive role model for everyone who knew him and has made all of our lives better. We are grateful for his life. Our prayers and sympathy to Peggy, Nancy, Kim, John and Families.
Markus TemplerAfter 98 glorious years, I am saddened at the passing of the legendary Jack Fairs.  There is a lot of my life that I do owe to your guidance, leadership, friendship and mentorship. I ended up going to Western to play Collegiate squash because of you (and a little influence from Dean Brown).  I had an opportunity to compete in the NCAA’s because of you. Be part of 4 OUAA Championships because of you. Met your phenomenal wife and team mom, Peg, because of you. Made lifelong friends and even my career was born from a chance meeting at a competitive squash match. Thank you. Jack – you are truly a legend, the impact you made on this world cannot be overstated. I still have no idea how you endured all the craziness of all us players who passed through those halls! From us ruining the Athletic Banquet, having to readjust initiation, breaking borrowed vans in the Bahamas, our Cornell hijinks snowball fights and golf tourneys where it seemed like you always somehow got hit with an errant shot, Stephen Eastwood as a whole (said in jest!). The influence you have had on thousands of athletes and on the whole of squash, as sport that we love and adore, cannot be translated into words.     You will be missed, you are loved, and rest up deservingly.
Jane and Vaughan PeckhamJack will truly be missed by the PHE Class of 69! Our condolences to Peg and his family!
John Cernik UWO '68A real gentleman missed by all , forgotten by none
Don MorrowJack was special. To me he was friend, coach, 'student' of sport/all sports, scholar, teacher, and always in all ways, effervescent.
Darryl SaariJack's smile is irreplaceable and I am not sure if I knew anyone who didn't like and admire him. Although I never played on the squash team, he was always a delight to talk to and if you could get his attention at the squash club then you knew you were in for a few (many) good stories. My condolences to Peg and his family. He will be missed at London Squash and Western.
john pattisonJack was my squash coach at Western 79-81 - he was already a legend when I met him. I was not a top player, fairly low on the roster….but Jack was always great with me and generous with his time. To say he was a remarkable man is an understatement….very upbeat and a whirlwind of energy. Condolences to his family - he was one of a kind. I'm so lucky to have known him.
Will HawryliwOur condolences to the Fairs family. Jack played an important role in my Western years as a role model and as squash coach and will be remembered for his generosity of time and his encouragement.
Al & Doreen RobinsonA wonderful full life Jack. One with helping others towards meeting their goals in life. We go back to the 1948 London Majors baseball team and you were the last remaining member. I will dearly miss our weekly telephone chats. Rest well our friend. Al & Doreen
Gary WaiteI never thought he would leave us but, then again, he hasn't I was never a Mustang But I was always on his team Jack was like that Bigger than a coach More than his teams A unique combination of humility, strength and grace that transcended any particular endeavor and benefited all those he came into contact with He was and is a force of nature Timeless No less mighty than the wind As warm and bright as the sun His example, his strength and his will live on
Cindy Sachvie98 years young Jack. I will miss his SMILE! He lit up a room when he walked in. I will cherish the memories from all the OUA games and the Cornell home games and the CSA play-offs. As a BIG RED fan I would always look for the Mustangs in Purple to cheer on the Canadian boys. Peg you are filled with these memories as well. I hope you know how appreciated you both were with the success of the Western Squash Team.
Bettye GirvinJack was a living legend and he will always be remembered as such. His kindness and great sense of humour touched all of us who knew him. He and Peg helped develop tennis for many of us and our families. Gone, but never to be forgotten. John and I send our sincere sympathy.
Barry HowsonJack in his kind, understanding and benevolent manner as a coach and mentor encouraged me in my sports endeavours. In 1949 our Pee Wee baseball team won the First Provincial Baseball title (12 and under). Through Jacks coaching I played baseball until I reached and played for London Majors & St Thomas Elgins / In the 50s Jack came to Silverwood Park to teach tennis skills which allowed me to win several tournaments . At Western in 1960 Jack and Ed De Armon coached me as a Freshman. With his coaching Jack taught me how to FINESSE my opponents thus going to higher levels such as the Warriors Halls of Fame . I am thankful Jack gave me this knowledge enabling me to follow in his footsteps with my own teams of young players . Lots of special memories of Jack / He will be greatly missed
Larry and Linda LaheyOur condolences to Peigi and her family. Confucius once said 'find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life'. I believe this describes Jack as he seemed to always love what he was doing. Missed by the PHRE class of 1967.
Chris BlumasJack was a great friend. It was a pleasure to play for him and be part of the team. I have so many fond memories of our time together and am so glad my children got to meet Jack. He was truly exceptional and will be greatly missed. My condolences go out to Peg and Jack’s family.
Daniel LobbIn 1962, Jack got me involved in tennis, I was eleven years old at that time, and he was organizing a city-wide program for young people. The local tennis courts where I lived were right across the street from Jack's house, and he would often drop by and watch us play. My own progress was a little slow, but one day during my high school years, he watched us play for quite some time, and afterwards smiled at me and said, "Very interesting". Later, I became captain of our high school tennis team, and had some memorable days in university play. All of which was due to his encouragement. He was that kind of a coach and mentor. Our condolences to the Fairs family.
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