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James Fairbrother, 55, ad exec, Phillies fan


CANAAN—James Alan Fairbrother, 55, a media and advertising executive, died suddenly early the morning of December 27 at his home in Canaan.

Born to Richard W. and Janet (Touchton) Fairbrother in West Chester, Penn., Mr. Fairbrother attended the Tower Hill School in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated in 1973. He continued his education at Wesleyan College, Class of 1977, where he studied film and English.


Mr. Fairbrother started his career in New York City, writing the backs of paperback books for Pocket Books, and quickly became director of advertising and promotion for Simon and Schuster, a book publishing company. At the age of 29, Mr. Fairbrother acquired Jameson Advertising, and within two years he had tripled the company’s revenues. His clients included The New York Times Company, Forbes, Random House, and Canon Cameras.

In 1992, Mr. Fairbrother moved his firm to Columbia County, first to Valatie, and then to Chatham, where he rebranded the firm as Fairbrother & Company, and developed such prominent regional brands as Kinderhook Bank, CDPHP, Hudson Valley Community College, and the New York State Department of Education’s Summer Reading program.

He served as an adjunct professor of branding and marketing at the Lally School of Management and Technology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy. He served on the boards of the Hudson Opera House and the Columbia Country Habitat for Humanity.

Mr. Fairbrother was honored with the American Marketing Association’s Mark of Excellence Award, won numerous regional, national and international advertising creative awards, and was a three-time recipient of the Silver Microphone, honoring the nation’s most creative radio advertising.

Mr. Fairbrother is survived by his wife Eileen (Ivy) Cote-Fairbrother, his children Alison, 24, Patience, 18, Eliza, 16, and James Carter Fairbrother, 6; his brothers Richard R. and Jay P. Fairbrother, and several nieces and nephews.

A devoted father and husband, Mr. Fairbrother spent his final weeks surrounded by his children, whom he adored, and his beloved wife Ivy. His favorite times in the world were when all his children were visiting. He would refuse to leave the house until all his kids were awake, so he could see their faces first thing in the morning.

Mr. Fairbrother was a passionate Philadelphia Phillies fan, a member of the first fantasy baseball association, the OCBA, and a film and music buff. He counted among his favorite things the Columbia County Film Festival, the Crandall Theater in Chatham, the Strawberry Shortcake Festival at the Shaker Museum, and the Old Chatham Fourth of July Parade. He cherished his friendships with Chatham and Canaan locals, and could often be seen treating his family to lunch at Ralph’s Pretty Good Café.

A memorial service will be held Monday, January 3, 11 a.m. at St. James Church in Chatham.

In lieu of flowers, gifts are being accepted to establish a college fund for J. Carter Fairbrother.

Arrangements are with the French, Gifford, Preiter & Blasl Funeral Home, Chatham. To send an online condolence, visit




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