Devotion in Action: A Tribute to Thomas G. Fahner

In January, longtime Kurn Hattin staff member, Principal Thomas Fahner, passed away at age 58 after a courageous battle with cancer. A friend to many, a devoted husband to our Athletic Director Donna Fahner, a loving father to three children; Kimberly, Kelly and Christopher, and cherished grandfather to Maggie, Tom will be remembered for, among other things, having the calling to help children succeed and thrive. It was said of Kurn Hattin’s founder, Charles Albert Dickinson, “He took humanity into his heart.” Those words ring true for Tom Fahner, who mentored countless boys and girls who came through Kurn Hattin’s doors needing healing, nurturing and love.

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I met Tom in 1989; he became employed at Kurn Hattin just one year after I came to work at the Homes in 1988. You could say we grew up together; we were young transplanted New Yorkers in our 30’s, eager to make a mark in our chosen careers.

What was evident from the start, besides his brilliant red hair, was Tom’s abundant and contagious enthusiasm for children. No child escaped his attention, and he quickly knew just what kind of nurturing they needed in order to have a good day and be successful. A touch on the shoulder, a few words spoken in the hallway during classes, an after school ball toss... in so many big and small ways Tom connected with kids, and with that connection, gave them hope.

Tom will be missed and remembered. An outpouring of testimonials from the graduates he helped have sustained all who loved Tom. And as was also said of our founder, we think of Tom in this way: “A finger plunged for an instant into the ocean...a rain drop brushing a rose petal...each, you think, leaves about as much impression behind as when your life work is done. But the end is only the beginning. Does not your work go on?”

~ Connie Sanderson Executive Director