Cover photo for James Collier Fanning's Obituary
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1931 Jim 2024

James Collier Fanning

November 8, 1931 — June 22, 2024

Clemson

James (Jim) Collier Fanning, a cherished husband, father, grandfather, professor, and community member, passed away peacefully on June 22, 2024 at the age of 92. His devoted wife and family were by his side. Born on November 8, 1931, in Atlanta, Georgia, Jim led a life defined by dedication to his family, education, and community service.

Jim graduated from The Citadel in 1953, where he was a proud member of the Band Company. He pursued his passion for chemistry at Georgia Tech, earning both a Master's and a PhD. His distinguished career included a long tenure as a professor of chemistry at Clemson University. He also took sabbaticals at the University of Illinois and National Institutes of Health (NIH).

As a professor, he delighted students with his chemistry magic shows, sharing his love of science in an entertaining way. His lifelong passion for learning was evident in everything he did, and he encouraged others to pursue their educational journeys.

A devoted member of the First Baptist Church of Clemson for over 60 years, Jim balanced his professional life with extensive volunteer work. He was actively involved in the D.W. Daniel Band Boosters, Girl Scouts, and all of his daughters' other various activities. Throughout retirement, he supported the South Carolina Botanical Gardens and Meals on Wheels. 

Jim had many interests and hobbies. As an avid gardener, he earned the Master Gardener designation and took great pride in his garden. He was passionate about photography, capturing and preserving precious moments. He loved travel exploring the country with his wife, daughters and grandchildren. He was keenly interested in family history and enjoyed connecting with his cousins and extended family across the country on his trips. Music was a lifelong passion. He took particular delight inlistening to productions by the Metropolitan Opera. Known for his distinctive bow ties, Jim had a unique sense of fashion that added to his charm. 

Jim is survived by his beloved wife of 67 years, Sybil Smith Fanning; his daughters, Elizabeth (David), Kathleen (Bob), and Rebecca (Mick); his grandchildren, Drew, Stephanie, Jonathan (Macie), Rachel, Michael, and Mark; and his cherished nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, James Choice Fanning and Lois Collier Fanning.

James Collier Fanning’s life was a symphony of love, learning, and service. His memory will live on in the hearts of all who were fortunate enough to know him.

A celebration of Jim's life will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research ( https://www.michaeljfox.org ), to support research in finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home is assisting the family.

To order memorial trees in memory of James Collier Fanning, please visit our tree store.

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