Fahn’s Oak Park High School senior yearbook photo, featuring the sixth rule of Isshin-Ryu Karate. (Photo Courtesy of Kathie Leggett)
Fahn’s Oak Park High School senior yearbook photo, featuring the sixth rule of Isshin-Ryu Karate.

Photo Courtesy of Kathie Leggett

Remembering Nicholas Mark Fahn

September 25, 2020

Nicholas Mark Fahn, Oak Park High School Class of 2012 alumni, died on August 20, 2020. An athlete, student and coach, Fahn was recognized for his contagious smiles and his compassion, according to his former counselor Julie Ross. 

“Nick would make you laugh,” Ross wrote to the Talon. “He always was smiling and had a positive energy.”

As a high school student, Fahn played both football and volleyball for OPHS. In volleyball specifically, he won multiple League Championships and helped bring the team their first CIF Championship victory in his senior year. A couple of years later, he returned to participate in football and volleyball once more, now as a coach.

Coach Eric Varney, a close friend of Fahn’s, saw him as the embodiment of Oak Park’s own Bennie the Eagle; Fahn even had a tattoo of an eagle splayed across his chest.

“I used to joke with him that he was our mascot,” Varney wrote in an email to the boys’ volleyball team. “He had so much pride for his school and had close ties to the community … He was always smiling, and if you weren’t, he would make you.”

Senior and varsity volleyball player Chase Willet fondly recalled Fahn’s upbeat attitude and abundance of school spirit. 

“He always had the most energy out of anyone,” Willet said. “Even if we were losing by a bunch he would run up to the bench and scream energy in all of our faces to get us hyped up. He brought really great positivity to the team.”

English teacher Kathie Leggett had Fahn as a student for her 11th grade American Literature class, writing in an email that he was “a wonderful young man… [he was] ALWAYS courteous, [and he was] ALWAYS a gentleman.” 

Last June, Fahn discussed his future plans with Leggett after the two saw each other at a restaurant. 

“[He was] very respectful, cordial, engaging, and excited about returning to coach boys’ volleyball at OPHS,” Leggett wrote. “[He had] tons of positive energy and excitement about this new chapter in his life.”

Varney will be retiring Fahn’s number 24 volleyball jersey in honor of his memory, preserving his legacy for future generations.

“My heart goes out to Nick’s family, his friends, and every player who was lucky enough to experience the impact of his life,” Varney wrote. “When we finally return to business as usual, things will be very different. Imagine an empty lot, with a pile of loose bricks. Day 1 we will put down the first brick, with the hopes of building something we can all be proud of.”

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