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Lewis County Legislator Charles R. Fanning dies

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COPENHAGEN — Lewis County Legislator Charles R. Fanning, R-Cophenhagen, died Saturday night after being stricken while driving in the town of Denmark.

Mr. Fanning, 73, was driving near his home on Deer River Road when he suffered a medical emergency at about 8:45 p.m. and was taken to Lewis County General Hospital, Lowville, where he was pronounced dead, according to state police. Mr. Fanning had reportedly attended a parade at the Copenhagen firemen’s field days earlier in the evening.

“It’s a huge loss, not only for the county, but for his family,” said Board of Legislators Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan.

Mr. Fanning, who was vice chairman of the legislature, was in the midst of his fourth term serving the entire town of Denmark. A retired farmer, Mr. Fanning graduated from Copenhagen Central School and attended Cornell University, Ithaca, before embarking on a career in farming.

Mr. Tabolt said he knew Mr. Fanning before he served in the legislature and when other legislators approached him in December about naming Mr. Fanning as his vice chairman, he readily agreed with the choice.

“I guess that was one of my easier decisions as a legislator,” Mr. Tabolt said.

Mr. Tabolt said other legislators frequently looked to Mr. Fanning for sound advice.

“If you wanted to go to someone for common sense, for a well-thought-out answer, Charlie was our go-to guy,” Mr. Tabolt said.

Mr. Fanning had served as a legislator since January 2006 and was planning to seek a fifth term in this fall’s election. He was being challenged for the District 3 seat by fellow Republican Craig P. Brennan, a retired police investigator and businessman from Deer River.

Among Mr. Fanning’s survivors are his wife, Carolyn, and their four children.

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