Businessman, civic leader Fahnestock dies

Businessman and civic leader George Fahnestock died at his home today.

Mr. Fahnestock, 62, was founder and owner of Fahnestock Plumbing HVAC & Electric.

But "Mr. Wichita," as former Wichita State athletic director Jim Schaus called him, was more than the owner of a successful, 28-year-old company.

The native Wichitan was a civic leader, donning the public face of the effort to raise money through a temporary sales tax increase to build Intrust Bank Arena. In 2008, he took a lead role in the campaign for the $370 million bond issue for Wichita public schools.

Russ Meyer, chairman emeritus of Cessna Aircraft, called Mr. Fahnestock's death a "tragic loss for the community."

Meyer and Fahnestock worked together to open the Boys and Girls Club on 21st Street and on Board of Education issues, including the last referendum of the school bond issue.

"George believed in the programs; he believed in the Boys and Girls Club, and he believed in what we were doing with the school board," Meyer said. "He's going to be missed big time."

Mr. Fahnestock served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including Goodwill Industries, Kansas Humane Society and the Lord's Diner, where he was chairman.

For more on this story, come back to or see Friday's Eagle.