In Memoriam : Roy Fairfield

Roy Fairfield Roy Phillip Fairfield - age: 99
(May 17, 1918 to January 22, 2018 )
Resident of Saco, Maine

Visitation Information:
A private service will be held at the convenience of the family. Dennett, Craig & Pate Funeral Home, 365 Main Street, Saco, ME is respectfully handling the arrangements.

Donations may be made in Dr. Fairfield’s memory to The Dyer Library, Roy P. Fairfield Maine History Room, 371 Main Street, Saco, ME 04072; Thornton Academy: Friends of the Arts Fund 438 Main Street, Saco, ME 04072 and Saco Bay Trails Association, P. O. Box 720, Saco, ME 04072.

Beloved Town Historian, Roy P. Fairfield

Saco- Roy Phillip Fairfield, 99 passed away peacefully at his daughter’s home in Mansfield Center, Connecticut on January 22, 2018 with his family by his side. He was born on May 17, 1918 in Saco, the son of Wilbur and Mary Smart Fairfield. He is survived by his wife of 78 years, Maryllyn Rumery Fairfield, his daughter Donna, her partner Jane Fried and his sister Nancy Fairfield Rumery and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister Priscilla Ladd Knight and brother-in-law Reed W. Rumery.

Roy was a proud citizen of Saco where he served as the town historian. The Dyer Library created The Roy P. Fairfield Maine History Room to house his personal papers and many of the historical documents of the city. He organized and catalogued these documents so that other researchers could have access to information about town history, going back to its founding.

Roy was a proud graduate and life-long supporter of Thornton Academy in Saco. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Bates College in Lewiston, ME and his MA in American History and PhD in the History of American Civilization (1953) at Harvard University. He was awarded a Fulbright Professorship at Athens College in Greece (1953-54). Roy was also a life member of Bates Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa Maine.

Before his teaching career, Roy worked as a foreman and manager at Saco Lowell Shops in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. While earning his doctorate, Roy became a history professor at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in the 1940’s. He later served as a professor of social science at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio (1957-1964) and a history professor at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio (1964-1966). He was the first director of the Antioch New England Graduate School in Putney, Vermont. Roy was a co-creator and first dean of an experimental doctoral program, Union Graduate School at the Union Institute of Cincinnati, Ohio. Roy spent his career encouraging students and friends to be creative in their thinking and to follow their dreams no matter the struggle. He championed projects that supported dialogue, dynamic discussion of ideas and positive contributions to their communities.

Roy was a poet, haikuist, fabulist, carpenter, lecturer, world traveler, and a nature lover. He was the author of two local histories of Saco, Maine: Sands, Spindles and Steeples and Compass Points. He also authored two novels about Maine: Amanda's Cove and Of Lobstering and Love; three books of poetry: Angles of Vision, Doing It Over and Seaside Fables and was editor of the student edition of “The Federalist Papers” as well as many manuscripts, monographs and book chapters on education and public affairs.

In addition to his work as a “public intellectual,” Dr. Fairfield served as president and member of the board of directors of the Appalachian Trail Society, President and founder of the Buckeye Trail Association of Ohio and a member of Saco Bay Trails Association. He was also a member of the Saco Historical Society, The North America Humanist Society, editor of The Humanist Magazine, and a member of the Biddeford Historical Society.


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