Dr. Robert Fain, civic leader and past TSU administrator, dies at 79

Legacy includes life as educator, servant, mentor and friend

Dr. Robert Fain and wife Pat Fain


STEPHENVILLE (August 8, 2016) – Dr. Robert “Bob” Fain lived a full life. Born October 19, 1936 in Llano, Dr. Fain died August 6 at the age of 79.

Dr. Fain is survived by his wife almost 60 years, Pat. The couple met while enrolled at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos. At the time of his death, Dr. and Mrs. Fain – she taught mathematics at Stephenville High School for 25 years before retiring in 1992 – were married almost 60 years, had two children and were also blessed with grandchildren.

He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southwest Texas State and his doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Texas.

A strong supporter of the local community, Dr. Fain was a charter member of the Stephenville Optimist Club and “served as treasurer of the Optimist board as long as anyone around can remember.” He was also a former Stephenville Chamber of Commerce board member, according to July Danley, executive director of the chamber of commerce.

“Dr. Fain was the definition of a servant leader,” Danley said. “He dedicated an enormous amount of this time, talent and energy to making a positive impact on those around him, without the need for credit or recognition. Such an amazing, humble man.”

A man of faith, Dr. Fain was a leader at First Baptist Church of Stephenville, where we served as a deacon and on the Ministry Advisory Council.

“He served the Lord with all his heart and lived out his faith as an example and role model to all those who were blessed to know him,” Danley added.

An advocate for education, Dr. Fain was professor emeritus at Tarleton State University, where he was a longtime professor. He was also a member of Erath County Retired School Employees.

He spent a year in New Jersey as a research chemist for the Celanese Corporation before joining the Tarleton faculty. 


Dr. Fain was named a distinguished faculty member of the university in 2000. At the homecoming week ceremony, he was recognized for more than three decades of service to Tarleton State as a teacher and administrator.

“Dr. Fain leaves an amazing legacy of inspiring others to realize their potential and investing in the youth of our community,” Danley said. 

He joined the faculty in 1966 as an associate professor in Chemistry and was named chairman of the Department of Physical Science the following year, according to a news release published by the university announcing his distinguished faculty status.

By 1970, Fain was Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and  in 1979 he was appointed Dean of Academic Affairs. Dr. Fain served under three Tarleton presidents and saw the student body more than triple in size during his tenure.

In 1995, Dr. Fain resigned from administration, and his 16 years as vice president of academic affairs was the second longest term in the country at that time.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Stephenville Funeral Home. Complete details were not available at the time of this writing, but it has been announced that funeral services will be held at First Baptist Church in Stephenville and interment will be in Llano City Cemetery.

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