If anyone ever deserved an article written about their life, it is Don Fabro, who passed away recently. Donnie was born and raised here in Kimberley, and to my knowledge, never left town.
Mr. Don Fabro was unique in the fact he was an incredibly hard worker at the Fabro Sawmill he operated just outside the City limits (across the road from Meadowbrook Motors). I do not know how much formal schooling Donnie had, but the man had a Masters Degree in people. He absolutely loved people, and possessed the rare gift of listening very intently when you were speaking to him. The most important thing occurring in Dons world at that moment was YOU (A remarkable trait I wish more people had).
Now, running the Fabro Sawmill was a 12 – 14 hour day for Don, then he would go to his farm in Meadowbrook and work till dark, with his wife Margie, and the kids when they were still on the Farm ( They had some cool breed of horses out there). Looking back, I guess I first met Donnie in the winter of 1965, as I was trudging home to the North Star Motel. He stopped his red pick up truck to give me a ride. Dropping me off Don said, “If you need work this summer, come see me at the Sawmill”. I did that and worked with Don that summer. What a great guy to work with. Very cheerful and kind — outworking most of us too — Don Fabro treated the crew with dignity and respect. Donnie gave me my lunch hour break on the green chain (for those who have done that job, it will a man out of you).
Somehow Don knew I played B. P. O. E. ANGEL baseball with his cousins Alan and Colin Fabro, so it was cool with Don when I had to leave early from work, especially if we were playing out of town.
Regarding the Fabro family, incredibly and very sadly, Kimberley has lost Alan Fabro on June11th, Fiorina Fabro (mother) on July 26th, Colin Fabro on December 22nd of 2015, and now Donnie Fabro on April 21st 2016, all in the space of 10 months.
THE FABRO FAMILY
Coming to Kimberley from the Crowsnest Pass, the Fabro Family were incredibly important to the Community of Kimberley. Certainly the town had Consolidated Mining and Smelting, but the Fabros were builders here in Kimberley. They had fine tradesmen, actually they were called Craftsmen back then. Milo Fabro owned the lumber yard (run by Normie Foster and Ticker Beattie), the booming Fabro Sawmill (three shifts), the Marshall Wells Store uptown (a multifaceted hardware store), and the Esso Bulk Plant run by Bruno Fabro. The Fabro family were extremely fair people, (the modern word is ethical). They trusted townspeople, giving them charge accounts, put people in the houses they had expertly built. In essence they sponsored the working man.
Don Fabro was Al Fabro’s son and the nephew of Milo Fabro. Brothers Alphonse and Milo were the overseers of the businesses here in Kimberley. They certainly had “business vision” and were primarily doing their business in Kimberley to serve folks, and not all about money the way society seems to be all about today. You had to be living here back then to get the gist of what I mean. Of course Donnie Fabro was a big part of that, supplying the lumber to build homes in Kimberley, Chapman Camp, and Meadowbrook. The Fabro name was Gold, and still is for that matter. But beyond all of the business stuff, Don Fabro was really all about people. Such a warm, loving individual. I remember a few years back we ran into each other at Sully’s Barbershop. I had just come down from skiing, Donnie was a little more stooped over, than I had remembered him. Shaking my hand he said to me “you have to come out to the farm for supper, we got things we have to talk about”. Sadly I did not take Don up on his offer. I really meant to, but never as they say “never got around to it “ (my loss).
A word to the wise — when an old friend asks you to come over for a visit, do it , as you may not have the opportunity at a later date. Time waits for no man , as they say.
I saw Ken Hagen in Cranbrook the other day at Canadian Tire, with Don’s grandson (Ken was Don Fabro’s former son in law) Ken said “Don was just a tremendous fella”. Well stated.
A funny thing about Life. I have known Donnie Fabro for over half a century (53 years) yet have never met his wife Margie, nor his children Danny, David and Patti Fabro, who are now grown up and have children of their own. By the way, I have never seen Don drive anything but a pick up truck, although I did see him driving his dad’s V.W. Blue Beetle once. Don told me he was “taking it in for an oil change”. His Father Alphonse Fabro was quite the guy too. I could write an article about The Fabro Brothers, Milo and Al, ) and probably will do so at a later date.
Don Fabro was the rare combination of a man who was a very hard worker, absolutely loved people, and saw the very best in each one of us. As you can see I have referred to Don as Donnie most of the time, because the man had a boyishness about him that never waned, and that ever present twinkle in his eye. He shall be missed.