Rich Fanning, 77, retired NYFD deputy chief – Coastal Observer


Rich Fanning, 77, retired NYFD deputy chief

January 13, 2022

Richard J. Fanning of Heritage Plantation died Jan. 7 at his home just a few days shy of his 78th birthday.

Born and raised in the Yorkville section of Manhattan, Rich was the eldest son of Joseph and Vera Fanning. He married his high school sweetheart, Anita Wright, in 1965 and lived in the Bronx before relocating the family to Rockaway Beach, Queens. 

Their affinity of living near the ocean never left them as they also called Silver Beach, Va., Bluffton and Pawleys Island home. 

His one regret was not moving to Pawleys Island sooner.

Mr. Fanning began his life of public service as a NYC Transit Police officer in 1966 and, in 1968, realized his childhood dream of becoming a NYC firefighter. He worked in the South Bronx before getting the first of many promotions through the ranks. Having served in Brooklyn and Manhattan, he retired in 1999 as a deputy chief covering Midtown Manhattan. He  earned a reputation for bravery, loyalty and fairness as a leader. He volunteered briefly following the chaos of 9/11 to help his fellow FDNY brothers and sisters.

As a dedicated family man, he spent much of his free time with Anita, their children and grandchildren. 

He had a cornucopia of friends that he cared for and often surprised them, and sometimes complete strangers, with gifts and tokens of appreciation. He was rarely seen without a smile or a kind word and everyone he met quickly became a friend. He was a true humanitarian.

In addition to his wife of 56 years, he is survived by his son Michael (Donna) of Pawleys Island and his daughter, Karen McGlade (Thomas) of Carmel, N.Y.; his  grandchildren,  Kevin, Edward, Christopher and Brenna; his  siblings, Dennis, Timothy, Veronica, Margaret and Joseph; and  many nieces and nephews.

Viewing will be held Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Burroughs Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Precious Blood of Christ Catholic Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials  may be made to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, 2361 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island, NY, 10306 or

Condolences may be sent at



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