Retired newsman dies

Published 8:41 am Friday, November 16, 2012

Former Daily News publisher Joe Fannin, who was widely known for his big heart and his

love for life, died Wednesday at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans where he’d undergone

knee replacement surgery on Tuesday. He was 65.

The surgery had reportedly gone well, but F a n n i n died at approximately 6

a.m. the following day. His wife, Pat, was nearby at the time.

The cause of death was not immediately available.

Fannin, a Mississippi transplant, took the leadership position at the Daily News in

December of 2002, and quickly endeared himself to the community. His service included

being on the boards or otherwise assisting the Nellie Byers Training Center, Washington Economic Development Foundation, Northshore Technical Community College Foundation and the Bogalusa Help Center.

He was a member of MCCA and the Den of Roo Ga Roo.

When Fannin retired in October of 2004, he chose to stay in Bogalusa and to continue

communicating. The couple enjoyed travelling, and he often shared pictures from the road

with an extended online community. He also shared information that he learned about things

such as medical advances with the hopes of helping others.

Will Chapman of Wick Communications hired Fannin to work at the Daily News.

“Joe was an excellent newspaperman, with a great eye for the business but even more, a

caring heart for the people he worked with and the readers they served,” he said. “He

told me several times after he retired how lucky he was to have found the Bogalusa

community in which to live. I know he enjoyed his too-few years there very much.”

The community was stunned to hear of Fannin’s death.

Patricia Branch said he did a lot for the food bank.

“He did so much for this organization,” she said. “He helped us to raise money in ways we

had never thought of and was working on this year’s fundraising.

“He will be missed by so many in this city. He will be missed by so many people and organizations.”

City Councilman Teddy Drummond agreed.

“I always thought Joe was a stand-up guy,” he said. “He could have lived anywhere when

he retired, and he chose to stay here.

“Nellie Byers is sure going to miss him. He helped a lot. It will be hard to replace him.”

Center Director Beth Schilling spoke for Nellie Byers.

“We’ve been really, really upset,” she said. “He was so dear to us and such a good board

member. We’re going to really miss him.

“He always wanted to help us. He had a real servant’s heart. We just really loved him.”

Sandy and Claude Bloom were his neighbors.

Sandy called Fannin a “kind, sweet man.” Claude shared a recent memory.

“Joe was outside blowing the acorns off his driveway the afternoon before he went in

for knee surgery,” he remembered. “I stopped to chat with him and, as usual, Joe did most of

the talking and me most of the listening. He was planning a train ride adventure to Vancouver as soon as he recovered from surgery and wanted me to go with him.

“Joe and Pat were always planning to go somewhere and always sent us updates of his ‘Pictures from the Road’ documentary. We were happy for them since Pat had gained her health and strength back and they were enjoying their travels and being together.

“We will miss our good neighbor and friend, but know he is in a better place and can only imagine what ‘Pictures from the Road’ he could send to let us know that he is still thinking of us and reaching out to share his love and friendship.”