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In Remembrance: Thomas Fansler Jr.

Each board member throughout New Song’s history has left an indelible mark upon the ministry, none more so than Tom Fansler. Tom passed from this life to heaven at 86 years old on February 13, 2024, and his impact on the lives of children will live on forever. It’s with deepest condolences to Tom’s beloved wife Nancy, Tom’s children and grandchildren, and his employees that we honor Tom’s impactful legacy he has left behind at New Song.

Tom became one of the original New Song board members in 2005, by faith, joining our rag-tag group of believers in Jesus who were excited to chase the dream of creating a children’s home campus in the hills of Brown County. A humble man with limited time due to the great responsibility he had running his significant Indianapolis company, Smock Fansler Construction, Tom made time for New Song because of the disadvantaged children our ministry would serve. Tom served two full terms as a board member, contributing in many ways throughout his six-year tenure.

I spent a good amount of time with Tom in those early days looking over New Song’s campus construction plans. Tom seemed to always have a fun story to share and loved to laugh! During our times together he frequently mentioned his wife Nancy (his deep love for her was always so evident) and his numerous grandkids. Tom had an unusual kindness and friendliness about him that struck me as unique, especially from one who worked in the construction industry.

Tom was plain-spoken and blue-collar. But one day I showed up for a meeting at his office and he had a 3-piece suit on. I had never seen him so slicked up before, and he quickly shared why: he had a meeting with a banker to get a loan! Tom knew how things in the world worked. Though he was “in the world” he was not “of the world,” as he closely walked with the Lord Jesus.

Tom’s love for disadvantaged children led him to join New Song’s board where he first helped provide thoughtful advice on the campus layout and infrastructure. Once the plans were completed and zoning was approved, amazingly, Tom and his company also donated about $90,000 of volunteer labor to build a significant bridge over our campus creek. It was a massive project! And the company’s sacrifice came about at a time when the economy was not the greatest. For weeks upon weeks, his incredible supervisors and employees came down to New Song to create the beautiful structure, which was poured concrete over a large, corrugated half-pipe of steel, with the concrete being stamped to create an attractive design. It was a large job led by a man with an enormous heart for kids.

For the past several years, cars filled with disadvantaged children have crossed that bridge to come back to live in one of our campus homes or attend one of our week-long overnight summer camps. In a ceremony held in 2019, Tom came back to the campus for a celebration honoring his sizeable impact on New Song. At this special gathering, he was shown a bronze plaque which would soon be firmly mounted to the campus bridge, now titled the Bridge of Hope. The heartfelt wording of the plaque reads:

All of us at New Song will always have a deep appreciation for Tom and the company’s sacrifice for the sake of disadvantaged boys and girls. To date, 22 vulnerable children have come to live on the New Song campus, some as long as three years. In addition, more than 100 needy boys and girls have attended one of New Song’s “Summer Adventure Camps.” The hard work of Tom and his Smock Fansler team is paying off. Young lives are being changed. Thank you, Lord, for bringing Tom into my life and the life of New Song.