Carol Jean Callihan Fairbanks was born on January 2, 1945 to Ben and Bernice Van Pelt Callihan in Mitchell, South Dakota. When she was four she moved with her parents from the Woonsocket area to Van Metre, South Dakota. Three years later Carol's older sister, Margie, her husband Milton Oehlerking and their first two children, Jim and Judy, also moved to Van Metre. Her carefree childhood years were spent attending Van Metre School with her mom as teacher, playing with dolls, sliding in the Spangles on Saturday nights at the Van Metre Dance Hall, playing pranks with her daddy and thriving on the friendships of Jim and Judy, Barbara Boe, Carol Marie Swenson of Woonsocket and Clarice Caldwell.
Carol boarded with a family in Murdo for her freshman year of high school. Then the Callihan Ranch at Van Metre was sold to the highest bidder, and the Oehlerkings moved south of Highmore while Ben and Bernice moved to Murdo, living south of the cemetery in a house that no longer stands. Two of Carol's favorite high school activities were choir and basketball, back in the days of half/court fashion. She graduated in 1963. She attended Dakota State University at Madison, South Dakota where she obtained a two-year teaching certificate.
Her first year of teaching was at Okaton, South Dakota where she taught the lower grades. The next year she taught in Murdo, living with Ben and Bernice until she married John Salazar on November 24, 1966.
To this union five children were born: Michelle, Edyth, Patty, Sarah and David. She, John and Michele moved to Spearfish in 1970 and later to Whitewood. Although Carol and John divorced, they continued to raise their kids together.
Carol met Kenneth Fairbanks in 1984 while waiting for a friend at Elk Creek Steakhouse and Lounge. During their conversation, she pulled out a picture of her five children. If she was trying to scare him away, he didn't scare easy as they were married on June 22, 1985. To this union, their son Matthew was born.
Carol was so full of love for people that hardly a day went by where she did not tell someone she was “hugging” them. One of her most favorite things to do was have organized picnics or celebrations as a large, extended family, the more, the better. She was the first to “like” or “love” everyone's Facebook posts and to tout her pride in her family. From her greeting “Hi, it's Mom,” to her signature wave, her children and grandchildren always knew she loved them. Her love of Vikings football and Twins baseball kept her and Ken busy during the winter and summer months.
Carol is survived by her husband Ken, her children: Michelle Salazar, Edyth (Don) Jennings, Patty (David) Colee, Sarah (George) Meisner, David (Shana) Salazar and Matthew (Arica) Fairbanks; step-children: Mike (Andrea) Fairbanks, Teri (Kevin) Wedeburn and Kelly Fairbanks.
Grandchildren: Danielle (Eric) Christensen, Benjamen and Nicholas Draine, Justice Jennings, Brooke (Cody) Hutchison, Abbey and Emily Colee, Makayla, Rebbecca and Marcus Meisner, Lily and Natalie Salazar and Ava Droppers. Great-grandchildren: Jaxon and Korbyn Christensen and Raegan Kerns.
Her step-grandchildren: Tessa Parrish and family, Kelsey and Breanna Fairbanks, Misty Nickles, Cody Overweg and Jacob Overweg and their families, Katie Armstrong.
Carol was also very fond of John's children: Michael and Donald (Kasey) Salazar and their children: Nathan, Shyloh, Teagen and Hunter.
She was proceeded in death by her parents, Ben and Bernice, her sister Margie, brother David, niece Judy, mother and father-in-law Dorothy and Harry Fairbanks, as well as many other close friends and family.
Trusting Jesus Christ as her Savior, she entered heaven on Sunday, June 3, 2018 at the Sturgis Community Health Care Center following a brief battle with cancer. A celebration of her life was held on June 11, 2018 at LifeSpring Church with Pastor Harold Delbridge officiating. Janeen Walker accompanied herself on the guitar and sang Amazing Grace, One More Day and I Hope You Dance. A large crowd of family and friends shared food, fellowship and memories.