Frances J. Fantini

Died: Friday, June 23, 2006
Age: 91
Frances J. Fantini, of Amagansett, passed away June 23, in Laguna Beach, California. Her two sons, William and Thomas were with her.

She was born on April 23, 1915 in Penzance, Cornwall, England, christened Frances Margaret St. George Jennings.

Fantini came to the United States with her family in 1928 at the age of 13, settling in West Newton, Massachusetts. Her father, William John Jennings, had brought the family to the U.S. where he had accepted a job working for William Dowse, a prominent Boston attorney, managing his three large estates. Fantini attended West Newtown High School. She later went on to Mount Holyoke College to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Education and then attended Columbia University, obtaining a Master’s Degree in History.

Fantini took her first job teaching at an outdoor school in Colorado Springs. A year later, she returned east to teach at a private woman’s college preparatory school, the Hannah Moore Academy in Reisterstown, Maryland. She remained at the Academy for 10 years.

In September of 1944, Fantini nearly lost her life. While visiting her father at the Dowses’ Cape Cod estate, the two were trapped in their beach cottage during a sudden storm surge. The house was lifted from its foundation and tipped into the water. They clung to the roof of the drifting structure throughout the night and ended up the next morning beached on the opposite shore of the bay. Fantini had always marveled at their good fortune.

In 1948, Fantini accepted a position teaching 4th grade at the public school in the quiet, remote hamlet of Amagansett. She purchased two lots on a dirt road, which cut through potato and strawberry fields. Her builder, Rob Barnes, promised her that utilities would be provided to the road by the time her small cottage was completed. The utilities were, in fact, installed. She moved in and the road was named Hedges Lane.

In 1957, Fantini married Silvio Fantini. Silvio had retired from a long career at the National Cash Register Company in Manhattan and had relocated to Hedges Lane to enjoy his passion for fishing. As fate would have it, retirement would have something else in store for him. In 1958, they had one son. In 1960, a second son was born. Fantini at that time was 45 and Silvio was 62. Silvio passed away in 1984 at the age of 85.

Fantini loved living in Amagansett and was an active member in the Amagansett Village Improvement Society. In 1994, East Hampton Town and AVIS honored her for her 45 years as recording secretary for the society, a position she volunteered for upon moving to the hamlet.

She was an active member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Hampton and St. Luke’s Women’s Guild and played the organ for the church for a number of years. She also served as organist for the Lutheran Church in Bridgehampton and played for other churches as a substitute as well.

She is survived by two her sons, William Thomas Fantini of Laguna Beach, California and Thomas Edward Fantini of Amagansett; and two grandchildren, Isabella Jennings Fantini and Jennings Thomas Fantini, Thomas’s children.

Funeral services will be held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Friday, at 3 p.m. Memorial donations may be sent to the AVIS, P.O. Box 611, Amagansett, NY, 11930 or to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 18 James Lane, East Hampton, N.Y. 11937 in her memory.
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