Bernard M. Fauber of Pauma Valley, Calif. passed away on Sunday, March 18, 2018, at Silverado Memory Care, Escondido, Calif.
Bernard M. "Ben" Fauber's career reads like a screenplay version of the American dream. In 1941, a hard-working farm boy from the hills of Amherst, Va. finds a job in nearby Lynchburg as a stock boy during the Great Depression. He joins the S.S. Kresge Company (later becoming the Kmart Corporation) and rung by rung he climbs the corporate ladder.
In December 1941, he joined the U.S. Navy, serving four years in Naval Aviation mostly in C.A.S.U. 11 at Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. After being discharged as an AMM 1/C in 1945, he returned to Kresge Company serving as a management trainee, assistant manager, then managed 2 Kresge stores, district manager and regional vice president in Los Angeles, opening more than 300 Kmart's in his eleven state region.
In 1977, he was elected to the Board of Director and named Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer; became Vice Chairman in 1979, then was elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1980. During his tenure, Kmart became the world's second largest retailer increasing sales at a substantially higher rate than the industry in general.
After retirement in September of 1987, Ben and his wife, Darlene moved to Ojai, Calif. On a lovely farm, they raised Morgan horses and apples. Soon, wanderlust had them on the move to Rancho Mirage, Calif. and Sun Valley, Idaho. In between, they spent time travelling in a Prevost Bus seeing much of the USA. In 1998 another move to Escondido, Calif. was necessary to care for their daughter, Lori, who passed away in 2006. In due time, they moved to Pauma Valley, Calif. and joined their very lovely country club and golf course. It is still our home.
Ben was very active philanthropically in every community he lived in; grateful for his life and success and wanting to "give back." He has been recognized by many institutions and charities with "Virginian of the Year" in 1985 a favorite. In retirement, he served on many Boards of Director including Texas Instruments, Berry College, Rome, Ga. and Pepperdine University, Malibu, Calif.
Good health prevailed until 2015, when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, which along with cancer took his life.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Darlene; sons, Wayne, Bernard, Jr. (Pete) and James Chestnut; granddaughter, Laurel Weaver (Robert); two great grandchildren, Abigail and Samuel; and grandsons, Christopher and Andrew Chestnut.
Out of a family of seven children, he is survived by his youngest brother, Fred Fauber and wife, Dodie of Lynchburg, Va. He was preceded in death by his parents, Massie H. Fauber of Amherst Co., and Frances C. Fauber of Lynchburg; two brothers, Dorris W. Fauber and Melvin (Buddy) Fauber; and three sisters, Elizabeth Brandon, Louise Beverly, and Audrey (Peggy) Campbell.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer's San Diego, 6632 Convoy Court, San Diego, CA 92111, or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105.
A Celebration of Ben's life will be held at Pauma Valley Country Club on Sunday, April 15, 2018, at 1 p.m.