Sara Eugenia Fabans, known affectionately as “Genie”, and most affectionately as “Grandma GiGi”, left this earthly plane to join her eternal love Don Fabans at the young age of 90 years old, on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.
Genie was born in 1931 in Selma, Alabama to the late Joel H. Riley and Annice H. Nelson. She lost her father at a young age and spent her childhood in a Quaker community near Deep Run, North Carolina with her grandparents, and eventually with her mother and the man who would become her daddy, Arthur Nelson. Their family moved down to Florida, and in 1947 -at the age of fifteen- Genie’s first “baby” was born: her sister, Pattie.
Genie’s late teens and early twenties were spent in Fort Myers Beach, Florida where she developed an everlasting love of the beach, collecting shells, and a good crab cake.
As a single mom of two beloved sons, Lester and Art, she put herself through secretarial night school while waitressing during the day.
Genie eventually landed a job at the NASA tracking station near Rosman in the mountains of North Carolina and there met the love of her life, Don Fabans. Until his premature passing the two spent time working as civilian contractors in Maryland, Guam, and South Korea.
After the devastating loss of her soulmate, she returned to the mountains of North Carolina to the small community of Balsam Grove, nestled in the Pisgah National Forest.
She spent the next 25 or so years cultivating a meticulous garden and became somewhat of a local celebrity for her hummingbird following and the annual return of a rare albino hummingbird. Genie’s door was open to everyone, her fridge was always full of Coca-Cola, and all were welcome to join her in putting together a puzzle.
Genie is survived by her sons: Lester (Cher) Fox and Arthur (Denise) Fox; her sister Patricia (Bill) Johnson; her nieces Sherrye (Mike) Richardson, Ann (Roger) Taylor, and Kyla (Buster) Shults; her grandchildren Sarah Fox and Ben (Stacy) Fox; and her great granddaughter Avery Matthews.
In lieu of flowers, plant one instead. Adopt a pet. Genie was a woman who cultivated a can-do attitude and she would’ve encouraged you to do the same.
Joseph B. Paul Jr. Funeral Service is honored to serve the Fabans family.