On Sept. 30, more than 200 people attended a standing-room-only funeral service for David Fancher in Silver Creek. The gathering was a tribute to an educator, politician and true family man.
Fancher died on Sept. 27 after suffering a stroke the week before. For anyone whoever debated or learned something from him, you know he left us too soon at 76.
My greatest recollections came during his tenure as a Village Board member in Silver Creek. He was always looking for a better way of running the village.
Honest to a fault, he admitted one day he thought the only way the community he loved could come back again was through dissolution. He told me this during a lunch I had earlier scheduled with Anthony Borrello, another Silver Creek trustee at the time.
Fancher's major concern was the rising cost of village government as well as the taxes. "I just don't see how there's any other way," he said of the dissolution option.
That honesty, however, did not sit well with other trustees and led to Fancher not serving another term.
During the funeral service, his three children - Bret, David and Kathleen - spoke of their memories of dad, noting his daily lists of things to do, his superior driving ability in the worst of snowstorms, his passion for reading and his love for the family. They also told of his quiet giving ways, which normally went unspoken.
Some of his most important gifts, however, went to people David Fancher never met. While the stroke - in a cruel twist of fate - damaged his brain, the rest of his body remained strong. It was at this point, his family made a difficult decision of organ and tissue donation.
His left kidney went to a 78-year-old Western New York man who had been on a waiting list for two years. His right kidney was transplanted to a 65-year-old woman. "Both these recipients are free from the painful procedure of dialysis three times a week," stated the letter from Unyts in Buffalo, which has a mission of saving lives through organ donation. "They can now start to live a healthier and happier life."
He also saved a 24-year-old woman in New York City, who had less than 48 hours to live. She received his liver. "This truly was a 'Gift of Life' for this young woman," said the Unyts letter to Fancher's family. "It's a miracle that she will never forget."
Unyts also was able to recover bone tissue for transplant, his tendons and corneas.
In honor of the donations, a certificate of appreciation in Fancher's honor was presented to his wife of 52 years, Rebecca.
"David is truly a hero to these people and their families," the letter noted.
As a Lake Shore teacher for 37 years, Fancher helped shape and educate the lives of thousands of students. After life, his legacy of assistance continued through organ donation.
At the holiday season, especially for those touched by the donations, it is the greatest gift of all.
Look for 2013 OBSERVER calendar in the Monday, Jan. 31, edition. Additional calendars will be available at the office after that day.
WDOE news director Dave Rowley and I look back at the top stories of the year on Wednesday's "Viewpoint" program, which runs from 12:15 to 12:30 p.m.
John D'Agostino is OBSERVER publisher. Send comments to email@example.com or call 366-3000, ext. 401.