Cover photo for James Fagan's Obituary
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1928 James 2024

James Fagan

July 9, 1928 — May 11, 2024

James Fagan, 95, of Ashville, Alabama, went to be with the Lord on Saturday, May 11, 2024. Jim was born in Jackson Heights, NY, on July 9, 1928, to James and Lucy Fagan. He spent his youth in Woodside, NY, attending school at P.S. 151 and Bryant High School in Queens where he loved riding his bike, cars, and sports - excelling in track, swimming, and ice skating. He first met his future wife Mary Lou at the Lutheran Church they attended. He was 10 and she was 9. He'd later say, "She could sing, and I thought she was cute."

Jim joined the Navy in 1946 at the age of 17. He had tried to join the Marines a year earlier when he was 16, but his father wouldn't sign for him. He worked at AT&T for 35 years, first in New York City before finishing his career in Alabama after moving to Trussville with his family in 1970.

After retiring in 1986, he and Mary Lou moved to Neely Henry Lake in Ashville, Alabama, where he enjoyed the lake life, even water skiing on occasion into his 80s. In 2003, he and Mary Lou bought a beach house in Fort Morgan, Alabama. He bought it for his children, and it has been another gift of his that keeps on giving. For the last few years, he hadn't been able to go to the beach house, but he was happy that his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren enjoyed it.

Jim didn't have a lot of riches growing up, but he learned to appreciate what he had, and work hard to get what he wanted. As a child in the 1930's, he'd take his wagon and pick up bottles and newspapers to make extra money. His parents would always make sure Christmastime was special, and Jim would carry on that tradition with his children.

He and Mary Lou fell in love at an early age, and their love never wavered. They would go to the movies, Coney Island, and sometimes he would drive her around in his Model A, which he bought (and drove) at age 14. After he retired, his passion for cars continued, and he bought 2 Model A's and an old Buick 8 and joined an antique car club. Jim and Mary Lou were married in 1950 at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Woodside, and would go on to live in Woodside, NY, Englewood and Leonia, NJ, Trussville, Alabama, and finally in Ashville.

From the time he was a baby, Jim and his parents and his sister would spend their summers on a remote island in Rumson, NJ, which included 13 bungalows, inhabited by his relatives and friends. As Jim and Mary Lou's family grew, they would carry on that summer ritual, and each of his children have fond memories of 'The Island'. Also, Mary Lou had a friend from school who married a dairy farmer. The farm was in upstate NY, and that was another magical place Jim and Mary Lou would take their children on vacation. The 5 children never underestimated how blessed they were: an Island, a farm, a lake house, a beach house. Who could ask for anything more?

Later in life, Jim and Mary Lou met a couple, Art and Audrey from New Orleans, on a cruise ship. They kept in touch and remained friends. After Mary Lou and Art passed away, Jim and Audrey became close, and their true love and companionship endured for the last 20 years of Jim's life. They went on many trips and loved to play Gin Rummy together and with family.

Jim was preceded in death by his devoted and loving wife of 53 years, Mary Lou, his sister Eileen, and parents James and Lucy. He is survived by his beloved companion Audrey Mansuy, his children, Patricia (Ken) Sransky, William (Donna) Fagan, John (Christi) Fagan, Thomas (Susan) Fagan, Daniel (Lisa) Fagan, 14 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren. Jim (Dad) was old school, but he had a big heart and a love for life. His children and their children had immense respect for him and appreciated his help and guidance throughout their lives. We'll miss him and treasure the memories.

Visitation will be held Thursday, May 16, from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM, at Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home in Trussville, Alabama, followed by funeral services at 12:00 PM. Burial will follow in Jefferson Memorial Cemetery East. Reverend David Teel officiating.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Fagan, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, May 16, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm

Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home

1591 Gadsden Highway, Birmingham, AL 35235

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Funeral Service

Thursday, May 16, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm

Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home

1591 Gadsden Highway, Birmingham, AL 35235

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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