Cover photo for James "Sonny" J. Fanelly's Obituary
James "Sonny" J. Fanelly Profile Photo

James "Sonny" J. Fanelly

August 18, 1934 — February 21, 2022

James "Sonny" J. Fanelly

James "Sonny" Fanelly was born August 18, 1934 to James and Jane Fanelly.  He passed away peacefully on Monday, February 21, 2022 surrounded by his loving family.


Sonny attended North High School where he excelled in track and field and held the pole vault record for many years.  He met his wife Shirley while they were both juniors in High School.  Upon graduation, he entered the Army where he served 2 years.  After returning home, he proposed to his future bride, and they would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on March 2, 2022. 


He worked for a short time at Goodyear and the Rex Humbard Foundation before he joined Atlas Fluid Components, retiring at age 65. 

Sonny was a member of the State Road Elks Lodge, Carovillese Club and the American Legion Post 281.


Sonny's love of sports never wavered.  He pitched for Joe's All-Stars, won the ProAm Bowling Tournament in 1962, the day his youngest daughter was born.  He later took up golf with his North High buddies and enjoyed his yearly fishing trips with family and friends to Canada.


Sonny loved his Ohio sports teams, especially the Buckeyes.  Together with his wife and "adopted daughter" Kelley Worner, Sonny loved hosting Buckeye football games at their home, where everyone was welcome. Many holidays and birthdays were celebrated in the Fanelly basement. Friends, family and home were his life.


He was preceded in death by brothers and sisters-in-law, Bud and Amy Dunn, Art and Doris Bodley, James Dunn, Bob Seitz, Bud and Joan Jenkins and Tom Beattie.


Sonny leaves behind his loving wife Shirley; two wonderful daughters, Karen Hardison (Bob) and Pam Fanelly; 3 grandchildren, Kristyn Parsons (Mark), Ragan Pheneger (Mark), Karlie Wardlaw and 5 great-grandchildren, Brynn, Noah, Alistair, Dawson and Jude; his devoted sisters, Rita Phillips and Vonnie Beattie, whose visits and "sweet treat surprises" always cheered him up; brother, Dick Protich, nephew, Mike Protich (Beth) and many loved cousins, nieces and nephews. 


A special thank you to Mike Protich, Daryl Ludle and his long-time friend, Dave Zampelli, who were always there for him.  He was blessed to be loved by so many.  Sonny had a long life, a fun life and he will be missed by all who knew him.


Cremation has taken place. Visitation will be held on Friday, February 25, 2022 from 4-7 pm at Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home, 1930 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation in Sonny's honor to Summa Hospice or a charity of your choice.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James "Sonny" J. Fanelly, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Friday, February 25, 2022

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home

1930 Front St, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221

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