Manchester community mourns the loss of Renée Fancher McFadden '82

Jun 18, 2023, 11:48 AM by Anne Gregory
A memorial service for Renée Fancher McFadden '82, Manchester’s first lady, was Saturday, June 24.

Renee McFadden 2023

A memorial service for Renée Fancher McFadden '82 was 1 p.m. Saturday, June 24 at Manchester Church of the Brethren, 1306 Beckley St., North Manchester, Indiana. The McFadden family received friends at the conclusion of the service.

The church posted a livestream of the service at

In lieu of flowers, consider making a gift to the Community Foundation of Wabash County’s “Operation Change the Future” project. Gifts can be made online at or by mail to 220 E. Main St., North Manchester, IN 46962.

Petersime Chapel on the North Manchester campus is available for quiet reflection.

She passed away at home on June 17, 2023, at the age of 64.

Renée met the love of her life, Dave McFadden, on the first day of first-year orientation at Manchester College in August 1976. They were inseparable by the time classes started, engaged in January and married the next November.

Renée spent the final nine years of her life as first spouse of Manchester University, where Dave served as president. They were partners in the work, traveling for donor visits, attending myriad campus activities and hosting countless groups of students, colleagues and friends of the University at Tall Oaks, the president’s residence.

"Renée’s service to Manchester over the years impacted the lives of hundreds of staff and faculty, alumni, the North Manchester community and thousands of students," said John Gilmore, chair of the Manchester University Board of Trustees in an email Sunday to members of the University community.

Renée graduated from Manchester in 1982 and spent many years as an educator, teaching students from first grade through college. She spent most of her career teaching elementary school in California, North Manchester and Warsaw. She spent two years on the faculty of Manchester College and several more as a classroom reading coach in Wabash and Kosciusko counties. She earned a Master of Education degree from Azusa Pacific University with an emphasis in reading.

Renée was born June 23, 1958, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She is survived by her husband Dave, children Rachel and Sam (Mackenzie Coulter-Kern), mother Doris Carpenter, brothers Joseph (Karen), Jon (Mary) and Neil (Beth) and many extended family members. She was preceded in death by her father, Donald Eugene Fancher, and James Carpenter.

The family entrusted McKee Mortuary with care and final arrangements.