William Fanning

William Fanning

1921 - 2013 PITTSFIELD William T. Fanning, 91, of Grand Junction, Colo., died Feb. 8, 2013.

Bill was born in Pittsfield on July 12, 1921, son of William F. and Mary Mahan Fanning. He attended St. Joseph High School, where he was a star athlete in western Massachusetts and up-state New York area, graduating in 1939. He worked at GE for before enlisting in the Navy in 1942. He was honorably discharged in 1945.

In 1950, he graduated from from the University of Colorado with a bachelor of science degree in education. While there, he was a four-year letterman in baseball.

Bill began his teaching and coaching careers at Grand Junction High School. He taught World History for 35 years. His coaching career included Southwestern Baseball Coach of the Year 19 times, Colorado Baseball Coach of the Year four times, as well as many other awards. The high school field was named Fanning Field. He spent 39 years umpiring baseball, 37 years officiating football and 32 years as a basketball official. In 1984 he was the first coach from Colorado selected National Baseball Coach of the Year over 15,699 other coaches throughout the U.S.

His wife, Velda Mae Lipsey, whom he married Aug. 13, 1942, died in 1998.

He leaves his son, William T. Fanning Jr. (Jana) of Longmont; daughter, Diane Najera (Frank) of Arvada; two grandchildren, W.T. Fanning III (Jennifer) and Jayme Evans (Michael); two great-grandchildren, and a sister, Marjorie Magner of Pittsfield.

The Liturgy of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Mar. 29, 2013