Horace Wesley Fabing passed away peacefully in the company of his family on Sunday February 18, 2018 at the age of 92. Horace was born on December 6, 1925 to Oscar and Emma Fabing in Gilroy, CA.
Horace was a fourth-generation Californian. While his service in the Merchant Marine and US Navy took him to destinations along the west coast and throughout the Pacific, Gilroy was the center of his orbit.
As a boy, Horace grew up watching the freight trains go through Gilroy and San Jose, and he knew their schedule and isms just as well as his own. He believed his love of trains began when his father told him that if he would wave to the train crew (at the time, to Horace, a tough bunch of guys) that they would wave back. His father would speed up or slow down their car to “chase” the trains, so Horace could wave, and most often, the crew would wave back.
Horace graduated from Gilroy High School and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He married his wife, Nan Fabing on October 5, 1951 and together they built their home in Gilroy and raised their two children, Cindee Ann and Frank Wesley. Horace worked at Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Moss Landing Power Plant for 36 years. After his retirement in 1986, his hobbies took on new life. He would travel with his speeder car and those of his friends to ride railroads around California and as far as Colorado, or ride his 7-1/2 inch gauge trains at the Portola Valley and Alpine RR. He built a garden railroad in his backyard that was for many years included as one of the stops on the Bay Area Garden Railway Society’s annual tour. Horace enjoyed traveling the country and even in his 91st year, went on a road trip to visit his granddaughter in Seattle.
An author, historian, and preservationist, Horace was a story-teller with a depth to his memory that could rival any stack of encyclopedias. He gave back to his community by volunteering at the Gilroy Museum. He wrote several articles on local railroad history for The Western Railroader and authored Steinbeck Country Narrow Gauge, a book which tells the story of Claus Spreckels and the Pajaro Valley Consolidated Railroad and how the narrow gauge railway helped shape the central coast communities.
Horace was an endlessly patient, kind, and ever-present fixture in our lives. He will be missed by his wife of sixty-six years, Nan, his children, Cindee Sorensen (Gary) and Frank Fabing (Dennis), and his two grandchildren, Scott Sorensen (Yvette) and Emily Sorensen. Our family would like to thank Aida Davis for being an unwavering caregiver and good friend to Horace. Horace was preceded in death by his sister, Orvalee Seadler, and brother, Robert Fabing.
Celebration of life will be held at the family home on April 28, 2018 from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Memorials in Horace’s name may be made to the Gilroy Historical Society, P.O. Box 1621, Gilroy, CA 95021; or the Lompoc Valley Historical Society, P.O. Box 88, Lompoc, CA 93438.
December 6 1925 – February 18, 2018