John Joseph Fannon

  • Born: February 19, 1934
  • Died: November 9, 2019
  • Location: Hillsborough, California

Crosby-N. Gray & Co. - FD-96

2 Park Road
Burlingame, CA 94010

Tel. (650) 342-6617

Tribute & Message From The Family

John Joseph Fannon, of Hillsborough, California, passed away peacefully on November 9, 2019, surrounded in love by his wife and children.

Born in Philadelphia in 1934 to Helen and Thomas Fannon, John was the second of three children. Attending Our Mother of Sorrows for elementary school and St. Thomas More for high school (where he was known as "Misty"), John's incredible work ethic—a trait that he carried throughout life—gained him recognition as an outstanding student and athlete. Named a high school All-American for basketball, he earned a scholarship to play for the University of Notre Dame, where he eventually captained the Fighting Irish team. His senior year of college, he captured honorable mention All-American and was drafted by the NBA's Philadelphia Warriors, but upon graduation he instead was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. As fate would have it, this career shift stationed him in Kanehoe, HI, where at a welcome reception for new officers, he had the incredible fortune to meet Miss Georgeann Roll, a Brigadier General's daughter who would not-too-much later become John's beloved wife.

Though their married life began in Pittsburgh, PA the couple soon moved to Chicago, where John began a lifelong career in the paper industry. Working fulltime for Champion International Paper, Co., John still found time to earn an MBA from the University of Chicago, and in 1973, was recruited by Simpson Paper Company in San Francisco. John and Georgeann—a native Californian—welcomed the opportunity to move close to the City by the Bay, settling in nearby Hillsborough where they raised their seven children.

As a businessman John was a natural leader. His commanding presence as company president was measured by his humble yet confident demeanor. He led by example, and drew the best out of people by listening to, encouraging, and supporting them. It was this style of leadership that made him an asset as a board member for both Federal Mogul Corporation and Seton Medical Center, among others. Following his retirement from Simpson Paper Company in 1996 as vice chairman, John chose to share his expertise and passion in the service of his local community, as a town council member and mayor of Hillsborough, as well as with the Order of Malta, spending many years in service to the poor and the sick.

There are many things John loved throughout his life—the University of Notre Dame, his Irish heritage, his friends, and his faith, to name just a few—but above all else, John loved his family. "Pops," as he was affectionately called, found tremendous joy in simply spending time with his clan of 27. No matter the activity, from baking bread for Sunday dinners, to fly-fishing with his sons in Montana, to memorably lighting up the dance floor at any celebration, Pops never missed an opportunity to be with and be there for his family. Always ready with an anecdote or memory to share from his playing days, his years in business, or his world travels, he was a wonderful storyteller and his grandchildren were his biggest fans. Summers in Lake Tahoe and winter trips with his wife to the beaches of Hawaii were particularly special to him, and over the years, their home in Lake Tahoe became a cherished gathering place for the entire extended family.

A gentleman to the core, Pops' legacy will be his humility and grace. Never one to boast and always willing to give of himself, he set an outstanding example for the generations of family that he leaves behind. Without question, he will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.

John is survived by his wife Georgeann, and his seven children and 13 grandchildren: Maureen Fannon and Keith Morgan (Jack and Alanna); Kathleen Fannon; John D. Fannon; Colleen and Joe Farrell (Danny, Will, Eleanor and George); Megan and Rich Dioli (John Adrian and Kate); Liz and Patrick Fannon (Ashley and Tommy); and Jennifer and Dan Fannon (Grace, Maggie and Lewis). He was preceded in death by his brother Tom and sister Dorothea.

A funeral mass will be held and St. Bartholomew's Church in San Mateo at 11:00am on Tuesday, November 19. In lieu of flowers, please sent donations in memory of John J. Fannon to the Order of Malta Clinic (2121 Harrison Street #110, Oakland CA 94612).