Paul V. Fanning of Pembroke, formerly of Milton, Jan. 28, beloved husband of Deborah (Meyer) Fanning. Devoted brother of Kevin W. Fanning of Taunton, Moira E. Fanning of Pembroke, Martha L. Duffley of Milton. Uncle to several nieces and nephews and Great Uncle to several great nieces and nephews. Brother in law of Carole L. Wood of Vineyard Haven, Cheryl McCarthy of Pembroke and the late Warren T. Meyer. Funeral Service in the Dolan Funeral Home, 460 Granite Ave., EAST MILTON SQUARE, Tuesday, April 21, at 11 o’clock. Interment Blue Hill Cemetery, Braintree. In lieu of flowers contributions in Paul’s memory may be sent to the charity of ones choice.
Paul Fanning always cast a long shadow on everyone he knew, and it wasn’t just because he stretched six feet-six inches from his head to the floor. Yes, he was a big man, big enough to swallow defensive lineman on the football fields of his youth. But that wasn’t it. For those lucky enough to know him well, it was the size of his heart and the weight of his laughter that will linger on long after his passing.
Many people looked up to Paul, but he never looked down on them. Even though he projected a certain toughness to the outside world, he was generous of both heart and wallet. While he seemed frugal on the surface, he was always there for anyone who needed him, whether it was through a kind word, sage advice or a few dollars in your pocket.
Paul died on Jan. 28, 2015, just days before Tom Brady staged yet another remarkable Super Bowl victory for the New England Patriots. Paul had predicted it the night before he passed. He had faith in his team. He had faith in many things – family, friends, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, and of course, in Tom Brady.
But most of all he had faith in his beloved wife of nearly a half century. Debbie meant everything to him. In his final months he wasn’t always a man of many words. He was resigned to his fate and expressed it with a quiet dignity. But in his last days he confessed to being the luckiest man who ever walked this earth. He was able to spend most of his life in the light and love of a wonderful, wonderful woman.
“I would have been lost without her,” Paul said the night before he died.
Paul had a fascinating life. His passions spread in many directions. He played football and golf. He collected mint coins. He was a student of history, often traveling south to visit the gravesites of Civil War veterans and the fields of historic battles. He served in the Army in his younger days, and enjoyed films about the brotherhood of soldiers. He would watch “The Longest Day” whenever it would come on television.
He grew up in Milton. His journey eventually took him to BC High, then to UMass-Amherst, and then to UMass-Boston, where he studied economics. He spent much of his professional career in the insurance business.
When he finally retired he was able to spend his time the way he always wanted – exclusively in the company of those close to him. As he fell ill in his later years he was moved by simple pleasures – the taste of seafood, the soft purr of a tiny kitten, the sound of a ballgame on TV, and the gentle kiss of his wife.
Perhaps Paul could have lived a few weeks or months longer had he chosen the around-the-clock care of a medical facility. But that’s not what he wanted. He had lived an amazing life, with a wonderful wife and family always close by his side.
“I don’t want to be anywhere else,” he said the night before he died. “This is home.”
Paul Fanning always knew where he belonged.