Original AFA faculty, librarian Fagan served country and community

March 19, 2012
photo - Brig. Gen. George Fagan while a faculty member at the Air Force Academy Photo by COURTESY THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY
Brig. Gen. George Fagan while a faculty member at the Air Force Academy Photo by COURTESY THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY 

Brig. Gen. George Fagan was more than just a librarian.

An original faculty member of the Air Force Academy, where he signed on in 1955, he laid the foundation for the McDermott Library, brought accreditation to the academy in time for it’s first graduating class in 1959 and eventually led a wave of innovation while serving as the head librarian at Colorado College’s Tutt Library.

Fagan, 94, died March 15.

“His dedication to the library impacted our day-to-day lives as cadets,” said Jock Schwank, a 1960 academy graduate, adding “We just couldn’t ‘Google’ things in those days.”

It was Fagan’s efforts at Colorado College from 1969 to 1984, however, that helped push the library world into the computer age. The general’s youngest son, Renny Fagan, 55, said in 1975 the Tutt Library partnered with the University of Denver and became one of the first Colorado libraries to have a digitized network for its collections.

(Click here for an oral history of George Fagan in the Colorado College Archives)

Fagan was born Oct. 4, 1917 and received his doctorate degree at the University of Pennsylvania.

He was a “wonderful scholar” and a “man of knowledge,” Renny said, noting his father served on a support team with the Eighth Air Force in London during World War II and loved to share stories of the war with his five children.

Fagan was one of three founding fathers of The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library in 1987, said Schwank who has worked for The Friends since 2002. The organization helps support the academy’s libraries with money and materials to “enhance the quality of the library as an educational, research, scientific and cultural institution,” Schwank said.

The group played a large role in bringing the Colonel Richard Gimbel Aeronautical History Collection and the Stalag Luft III collection, which documents axis prison camps, to the McDermott Library which has more than 1.8 million volumes in its collections.

Renny Fagan, said as a member of the “greatest generation” that lived through World War II as well as the Great Depression, his father “had a deep commitment to service.”

Gen. Fagan loved serving the Colorado Springs area senior citizens community during his retirment. He was one of the founders of the Colorado Springs Senior Center and Marian House Soup Kitchen. Renny remembers his father coordinating several churches to help provide meals for residents of the Acacia Park Apartments across from Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs.

A visitation will be held Monday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Swan-Law Funeral Director’s. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place Tuesday at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Fagan’s oldest son, Rev. George Fagan Jr. will be officiating the service.

Contact Matt Steiner at matt.steiner@gazette.com or follow him on twitter.com @gazsteiner

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