Celebrating the life of Bill Fanning

By: Phil Stafford Email
By: Phil Stafford Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO)-- Family and friends gathered on Friday to celebrate and remember the life of legendary Grand Junction baseball coach Bill Fanning.

Fanning died on February 8th at the age of 91. He accumulated three Colorado state titles and 476 wins over 35 years as head baseball coach for Grand Junction High.

Fanning was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Colorado Sports Hall of fame four years later.

While he'll always be remembered by his achievements on the baseball field, his closest family and friends recall his loving and kind nature most of all.

"The fact that he cared genuinely about people, that's why [everyone] loved him," Walt Bergman said. Bergman's father coached Fanning during his younger years, and Walt played for Coach Fanning at GJHS in the late 60's.

"He judged talent, not people," said Juco Chairman Jamie Hamilton. "Anybody that was a good person that tried their best, he gave them [an] opportunity."

Perhaps it was Walt Bergman who best summed up the sentiment of the community on Friday, "Thank you, Coach!"

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