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Former Wilton Playshop President Fannon Dies at 88

WILTON, Conn. – Betty-Jane “B.J.” Fannon, formerly of Wilton, died April 24 at Palm Meadows Court on Hilton Head Island, S.C., following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was 88.

A former 31-year resident of Wilton, Fannon was a past president of The Wilton Playshop.

Fannon and her twin sister, Geneva, were born April 2, 1924, in Ogden, Utah, to Eva Lee and Judge Eugene Elliott Pratt. Raised in Utah, her family moved to Washington, D.C., where Fannon worked at the Pentagon with the OSS during World War II.

After the war, she moved with her sister to New York City to attend Barnard College. She began her long love of theater while at Barnard, where she and her sister starred in the college production of “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

Following graduation, Fannon took a position at J. Walter Thompson Advertising Agency as a television time buyer. She met her husband, Jim, on a blind date and they were married on March 17, 1951.

Five years later, the couple moved to Wilton, where they raised their three children. Fannon performed in numerous stage productions throughout southern Connecticut and became president of The Wilton Playshop community theater in 1979, serving until 1981. Her passion for acting also led to commercial and television work.

Fannon worked as a real estate agent before she and her husband retired to Hilton Head Island. On Hilton Head, she continued her love of theater by performing in productions at Hilton Head Playhouse.

She became a founding member of the South Carolina Repertory Company, was involved with the American Association of University Women and volunteered at the Coastal Discovery Museum and Arts Center.  Fannon and her husband were also members of the Country Club of Hilton Head for 24 years.

She was predeceased by a brother, Elliott Lee Pratt. She is survived by her husband, Jim Fannon, of Hilton Head Island; a son, Douglas (Brenda) Fannon, of Guilford, Conn.; two daughters, Laura (Richard) Ploss of Wilton and Elizabeth (Michael) Petroskey of Groton, Mass.; a sister, Geneva Armstrong, of Sanford, Fla.; and six grandchildren.

A service was held Saturday on Hilton Head Island. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Memory Matters, 117 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926, or The Wilton Playshop, P.O. Box 363, Wilton, CT 06897.

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