"Most Powerful Pages on the Planet"
October 28, 2008
Volume 1 - No.26
Darwin Campbell, Executive Publisher
A Bi-Weekly Publication
James L. Fantroy Sr.
A Special Tribute
Dallas Councilman Remembered as Keen Activist, Public Servant, Family Man and True Champion of the People
DALLAS- He was a man of vision. He was a man of principle. He was a hardworking man respected and loved for his compassion and concerns for the common heart.
James Fantroy Sr. was a great man, driven by a vision to make a difference for Black people and the African-American community in Dallas.
Dallas residents that truly knew the heart of the man and his long legacy of grassroots activism, good works, benevolence and community service stepped up, supported the family and paid their final tributes to this man who lived life with a simple motto, “How can I make it better?”
His sentiments about public service were echoed and remembered by hundreds who knew him, lived in his neighborhood and attended his Homegoing service.
“I knew J.L. (Fantroy) for 49 years,” said Mary Compton, long-time friend of 49 years. “He never moved out of the neighborhood, improved it and always encouraged the children. People need to know that James Fantroy was not a taker. He was a giver.”
The former Dallas District 8 City Councilman entered into eternal rest on October 28, 2008. He was 71.
Services were held Saturday at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, 3700 Simpson Stuart Road with Dr. Stephen C. Nash Sr. Officiating and the Rev. Addison Canady as Eulogist.
Fantroy was born on August 28, 1937 in Fairfield, Texas top the parents of Jim (Sonny) and Locille Fantroy. He received his education and graduated from his beloved Dogan High School and was an active member of the Dogan High School Alumni.
He attended Prairie View A&M University and was a graduate of the Regional Police Academy and the North Central Council of Governments.
While serving on the Dallas City Council, Fantroy’s powerful presence at city hall represented the voice of a community south of the Trinity River that was fore years neglected, forgotten and left behind by the dominating influence of North Dallas political structure.
He was one who fought to improve employee rights to speak before the council and took on tough unsung projects and always worked behind the scenes to help individuals in need.
Former District 8 Councilman and political foe Al Lipscomb called Fantroy a bold and courageous leader in the face of trials and challenges.
“He was solid and will be missed,” he said. “The people have lost a true warrior.”
Munger Place United Methodist Church Pastor Rev. L.C. Stovall said Fantroy was very instrumental in overhauling policies that improved policing practices and greater cooperation on issues affecting the police and the community.
He worked to change the policies after several questionable deaths in the community at the hands of police.
“We knew when issues came up in the community, he would voice it and act in a spiritually just way,” Stovall said. “James Fantroy was a man who stood on his principles, was true to his word and would do what he always said he would do.”
Fantroy always envisioned uplifting the downtrodden, leveling the playing field for the neglected and sought to leave a legacy for his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
“He was a good man and people need to know that a lot of things he did for people who could not help themselves,” said Mary Hassan, former city council executive assistant for Fantroy. “He was not a bragger and not a politician. He was a representative of the people and we will miss him and all of us should be proud of him.”
Highlighting his body of work, Fantroy pioneered many historic programs and was a trailblazer for the development of many contemporary facilities for South Dallas and District 8, championed improvements in the historic improvements and worked tirelessly a strong voice for justice throughout the city.
Other notable work included serving on the City Planning Commission until 2000 and on the Dallas City Council for two terms. He also was active on the Fair Park Trust Board and Vice Chair of the Southeast Comprehensive Land Use Study and the Executive Board of the NAACP.
“He was a man who said what he meant and meant what he said,” said Eugene Thomas. “When you look at Target, Wal-Mart, the I-20 service road, Camp Wisdom Row, the new fire station The Inland Port facility and South Central police division, remember James Fantroy. He made a positive difference and was a true friend of the community.”
Tennell Atkins, Fantroy’s successor in District 8, said Fantroy led by example and lived his life as Jesus would have wanted following the Golden Rule and the principles contained in Matt 25:34-36.
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
The bit of wisdom he left Atkins was to take office, serve the people and make sure you do the right thing, he recalled.
“He was a man God used to serve his people and his community,” Atkins said. “He was a true inspiration.”
He also was a businessman serving as president of Highland Hills Transportation Company, CEO of J. L. Security and Investigation Company and ran for Constable, insurance salesman for National Life, Texas Peace Office and volunteered as a Deputy Constable.
Businessman Victor Russell, a friend of Fantroy of 30 years, said of Fantroy.
“We thank God for the life of James Fantroy,” said “He was true trailblazer and leader who worked hard and loved the community and its people. His energy level will be hard to match in this city or across this state.”
Jesus said the greatest commandment is to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt.22:36-39)
That was the real story of the life, body of work and legacy of James L. Fantroy Sr.
Fantroy’s memory will be cherished by his devoted wife Linda; and six children: Evangelist Shelia Rischer (Van) Mack, Denton; James (Deborah) Fantroy Jr.; Serita (Gregg) Cooper, Dallas; Kim Adams (Vincent) Wimbish, Mansfield; Theotha Bernard Adams, Desoto; and Airman Apprentice Abdul Fantroy, Tokyo, Japan.
Seven siblings: Margie Davis, Jerry G. Fantroy, Ruth Noble, Richard (Carla) Fantroy, Lucille Fantroy Finley and Linda Nell Fantroy; 22 grand children, six great grandchildren and a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Pallbearers include grandsons, James Fantroy III, Chris Fantroy, Kendrick Fantroy, Marvin Miles, Johnny Tyrone King, Nicolas Rischer, Issac Mack, Isiah Mack, Issac Mack, Shammah Mack and Reginald Kelly Jr.
Honorary Pallbearers were James G. Fantroy, Richard H. Fantroy, James W. Fantroy, Marvin Fantroy, Rickey Fantroy, Nicholas Fantroy, Fransior Presley, Grady Banks Sr., Frank Banks Sr., Hubert Davis Jr., Gerald Barnes, James G. Eastmon and Jodie E. Eatmon.
Interment was in Avant Cemetery in Freestone County with Evergreen Memorial Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.