Merwin Gifford Fairbanks, 67, Orem, Brigham Young University journalism professor emeritus and a former Deseret News editor, died Aug. 12, 1988, of cancer at his home in Orem.

Dr. Fairbanks taught journalism and communications for about 25 years at BYU, where he had oversight responsibility for a number of years of The Daily Universe student newspaper and the student yearbook, the Banyon.Before accepting a position at the BYU in 1962 he worked for 17 years at the Deseret News, where he was a reporter, business editor, science writer, art editor and Church News editor. Earlier he worked for the Salt Lake Telegram, Provo Herald, United Press International and the American Banker in New York.

He was bishop of the Val Verda Third Ward, South Davis Stake, for five years and for three years of a Brigham Young University student ward. He was a counselor in a number of bishoprics in Bountiful, Provo and Orem and a high councilor in two stakes.

Dr. Fairbanks graduated from South High School in 1937, received a bachelor's degree from BYU and served a 21/2-year mission for the LDS Church. In 1943 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, where he was a code clerk and cryptographer in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.

In 1964 he received his master's degree in communications from BYU and a doctorate in history and journalism in 1973 from Southern Illinois University. He was the recipient in 1965 of a Fullbright-Hays lecturing fellowship at the National University of Nicaragua, and in 1980 he and his late wife, Velma Parker Fairbanks, spent a year in Asuncion, Paraguay.

While teaching and lecturing at BYU, Southern Illinois and the University of Utah, Dr. Fairbanks also served as executive secretary of the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Press Association.

While at BYU he served nearly two decades as high school relations adviser. He became president of the Utah Journalism Educators Association and supervised summer workshops that attracted more than 12,000 high school and junior high school journalism students to BYU.

Funeral will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the Orem Lakeridge Stake Center, 158 E. 11th South. Friends call between 7 and 9 p.m. Monday at Sundberg-Olpin Mortuary, 495 S. State, Orem, or one hour before the service Tuesday at the stake center. Burial will be in the Orem City Cemetery.