HARRELLSVILLE – Shirley Wilkins Fairless, 81, of the 1500 block of Swains Mill Road, died Wednesday, December 24, 2008, at his home.
Mr. Fairless was born in Hertford County, a son of the late Joseph Graham and Mary Ellie Fairless Fairless.
He was a longtime member of Christian Harbor Baptist Church, serving as church secretary for over 30 years, a deacon, and former choir member.
Shirley was a 1945 graduate of Harrellsville High School. After graduation, Shirley signed a one year contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team. After returning home, he played baseball for the semi-pro Albemarle League with the Colerain Trappers team and later, for a short time, with the Elizabeth City team until the League folded in 1950.
Besides baseball, Shirley had a passion for farming and prided himself in his accomplishments in the field. After retiring from farming in 1994, he started working part time as a funeral attendant at Garrett Funeral Home, another opportunity to serve others, until his health declined and forced him to retire.
He leaves behind his loving wife of over 60 years, Forrise Newbern ‘Blue’ Fairless; his daughters, Dianne F. Smith of Asheville, NC, Mary Ellen F. Cullipher of Colerain; his sons, Larry W. Fairless of Harrellsville, J. Wayne Fairless of Ahoskie, and James M. ‘Jimmy’ Fairless of Harrellsville; a sister, Florence F. Pearce of Harrellsville; ten grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and three step grandchildren. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by two sisters, a brother and two grandchildren.
A celebration of life service will be conducted at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 27, 2008, at Garrett Funeral Home, with the Rev. Hugh Mizelle officiating. Burial will follow in Highland Memorial Gardens.
The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 7:00 until 8:30 p.m. on Friday, and other times at the home. Flowers are welcome or memorial donations may be made to University Health Systems Hospice Care, P.O. Box 272, Ahoskie, NC, 27910, or to a charity of choice.