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Anwar Amirali Fancy

Died: July 20, 2005

Anwar (Ali) Fancy came to Yale from Karachi, Pakistan having studied at the Canford School in the UK. Freshman year he roomed in Vanderbilt with F.G. Baldwin and Nick Nichols. He later roomed with Godfrey Caldwell and Jim Knowles in Saybrook. He was an economics intensive major and was on the Dean’s List two semesters. He was a member of St. Anthony Hall, the Haunt Club, and the Yale Dramat as well as the founder and coordinating director of Yale Advertising Services.

For the 40th Reunion Memorial Service, his son Hussein Fancy (SY’97), now an assistant professor of history at the University of Michigan, wrote a lovely tribute which is edited here.

Upon graduation from Yale, Anwar returned to Pakistan to join his family business. The Fancy Group was started in 1947, and its Web site describes it as “always known to be Progressive, Innovative, Cultured and Sincere in all their dealings and will remain the same so in the years ahead, Inshallah.” Later, he lived and worked in France, the United Arab Emirates, Poland, Russia, and the United States. He devoted his greatest efforts to philanthropy and religious understanding. Anwar was a passionate speaker, a prolific reader, an ardent optimist, a man of faith, and an inspiration to many.

Of his relationship to Yale, his family records that a car trip to any destination was an excuse to have lunch at Mory’s, while singing “the Football Medley” on the way. His collegiate obsession extended to dragging his family to “The Game,” wearing bulldog ties and suspenders, as well as a firm belief that the only good haircut in New York City was to be had at the Yale Club. He always spoke with great love of his time in New Haven, his roommates, and friends, who remain permanent fixtures in the lives of his family.

Anwar (Ali) Fancy passed suddenly on July 20th, 2005 in New York City. A beloved father and husband, he is survived by his wife Saeeda and his three children, Mahnaz, Khadijah (SY ’94), and Hussein (SY ’97). Saeeda, Mahnaz, Khadijah, and Hussein would also like to extend a special thanks to his many classmates who wrote to express their condolences during a difficult time.

As an example of his philanthropic interests, his obituary suggested donations in lieu of flowers to Developments in Literacy (DIL) an organization that educates and empowers underprivileged students, especially girls, by operating student-centered model schools; and provides high-quality professional development to teachers and principals across Pakistan.

Bruce Reynolds remembers:
Ali and I connected on the Old Campus, and somehow decided to head for Florida over Spring Break. In a white convertible Plymouth Belvedere. With fins!! We were reckless and raucous, and a force to be reckoned with on the Fort Lauderdale beach. Especially Ali.

He and I roomed together the next year. Rushed St. A’s together. Had that full experience. In that second year, I remember a party in HGS that included a lithe red-head. We all played some sort of party game: Write down your heart’s desire and pass it to someone else to read. She got Ali’s offering. We watched as she read it. Red-heads are truly susceptible to blushes, and one rose along her neck to suffuse her face. We never learned what he had written, but one may speculate.

Ali sent two of his three wonderful children to Yale, and to St. A’s. Marriage and fatherhood transformed him, as it transforms us all: into a pillar of the mosque and a sober and conservative parent. We all mourned and still mourn his untimely death: heart attack, mercifully sudden. Our class should find some formal way to raise him up and remember him.