Francis Michael Fennegan ’57

Dr. Francis Michael Fennegan, 88, passed away peacefully in his sleep on February 21, 2024. Dr. Fennegan was born on March 18, 1935, in Fairmont, North Carolina, to Samuel Edgar Fennegan and Ethel Reaves. He dedicated his life to family and to serving his community.

Dr. Fennegan graduated from Davidson College in 1957, lettering in football and basketball. He then attended the University of North Carolina Medical School, where he met and married Nancy Elizabeth Davis in 1961. Dr. Fennegan completed his general surgery residency at the University of Arkansas Medical School and then went on to a fellowship and residency at the preeminent Neurosurgery Program at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 1968, Dr. Fennegan set up the first neurosurgery practice in Harlingen, Texas, where he developed the Neurosurgical Operating Unit at Valley Baptist Medical Center. Along with his medical partner, Dr. Guy Bragg, Dr. Fennegan introduced the first computed tomography (CT) scan to the Rio Grande Valley, which significantly improved the quality of care for valley residents.

Dr. Fennegan was content with the simple things in life and didn’t feel a need for material possessions. He was known to drive old used cars that weren’t in the best of shape. During his time as Chief of Surgery at Valley Baptist Hospital, he drove a rusty old Cadillac, prompting a colleague at the hospital to scold him for degrading the Chief of Surgery parking spot with a car sporting holes in its hood and rusted-out quarter panels.

A lifelong sports enthusiast, Dr. Fennegan enjoyed nothing more than watching sports. He was a long-time ticket holder to Harlingen Cardinal High School Football and rarely missed a game. He also loved watching his children and his grandchildren participate in multiple sporting activities and relished every opportunity to watch them play.

He was a long-time member of the Harlingen First United Methodist Church, taught adult Sunday School at times, and was a patron of the Methodist Children’s Home in Waco, Texas.

Dr. Fennegan was preceded in death by his wife Nancy. He is survived by his children, Mike (Michelle) Fennegan, Sydney (Peter) Conces, and Garth (Amy) Fennegan, along with nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Dr. Fennegan, known as Grandad to his loved ones, will be remembered for his life of integrity and complete devotion to his family.

The family will hold a private celebration of life. Instead of flowers, please send donations to The Methodist Children’s Home in Waco