October 6, 2003
We have set up the Stanley Fafara "Whitey" Memorial Fund. All donations can be made through any Washington Mutual Bank in which there is one in most states. The account number is #0932779129. All proceeds go to Stan's headstone, the funeral home and the shipment of Stan's belongings to his daughter.
September 27, 2003
Thank you so much for responding to me, Paul--
I spoke with Tony Dow this morning on the phone and he expressed his sorrow as well. I know you are aware of Stan's history, as he told me he has spoken with you and the great work you are doing. Here is the story:
A reporter by the name of Tom Hollman from the Oregonian newspaper (the same one who wrote the story that became the TV movie "Door to Door Salesman" with William H. Macy) had previously written a large story about Stan and his recovery. It was a good story, but dismal. I didn't want another dismal story written about Stan because I saw the bright side of him. So, I contacted Tom because I felt that he would follow Stan's passing with another "drunkalog." I told him I would provide him with as much information as I could, but to hold off until I could provide it. I told him there was much more to Stan than just another recovering drug addict, kid actor gone bad.
I have known Stan for six years--I never knew him when he was drinking or using. I met him through a mutual friend. Stan became my friend because he was a very honest person with a good sense of humor and a huge heart. Stan was, as you know, down on his luck financially and his brother stopped speaking to him perhaps 25 years ago. Stan didn't consider himself down on his luck. He felt lucky that he found sobriety and peace. He became spiritual and was always willing to help a friend or stranger. He was not materialistic. I used to call him two or three times a week and email him a lot. He was a genius on the computer and I used to be an internet technician, so we shared a lot of tips and information. I used to take him to lunch or dinner and, whenever I felt like going for a drive to the beach or mountains or someplace special, I always called him and asked him to come along. He usually did.
Stan and I talked a lot and I could never convince him to contact his brother--he was very stubborn and I think he was afraid to call him. I don't think he has spoken to his sister either. I begged him and told him I would do it for him, but he refused to give me any information.
In the last few months, Stan went from looking healthy to looking like a 70-year-old man. I finally convinced him to see the doctor and he found out he was sicker than he thought. He didn't talk about it much and rarely complained. It made it seem, or at least I hoped, he wasn't that sick. But, somehow I knew I was about to lose a good friend. I also knew he wasn't prepared. I knew he found a daughter a few years ago who he never knew about. They became very close, but I didn't even know her name.
Stan didn't even tell me he was in the hospital until he had already been there for over two weeks and had major surgery. I rushed to the hospital and brought with me as many things I could find to bring him laughter. Stan was a fighter and never lost his sense of humor.
Stan died September 19th at about 7:30pm, one day before his 54th birthday and a few days after his 8th year of sobriety. His doctors induced him into a coma two days prior. He had completely lost his liver and kidneys and the nurse said the only thing keeping him alive was his heart. When I was there that day, I met six of his other good friends---the nicest, most beautiful people you could ever want to meet. You see, Paul, Stan was really rich. He had terrific friends, had found peace, accepted his fate graciously, was spiritual, loved life, loved people, had a great sense of humor and many, many fond memories of his childhood acting. He didn't dwell on the past, but he lit up when he talked about it. It was a thrill for him to meet with Jerry Mathers again, talk with Tony and he told me much about his conversations with you. In fact, his friends remind me of Tony and you---kind, caring people.
Since Stan was alienated from his siblings, we all decided to do whatever we could---the way we feel Stan would want us to. We sort of split up the responsibilities. One friend is trying to finance the funeral, memorial and shipment of Stan's belongings to his daughter (yes--I actually found her and spoke with her). I wanted to be in charge of his obituary, because I feel I knew him the best and his daughter wanted me to--she is very distraught. That's why I contacted the reporter. I didn't want him to write about Stan's dark past. We all wanted him to write about the real Stan. The rich Stan. The funny Stan. The caring Stan. And, the Stan who still held onto the fond memories of his childhood acting years.
Today, as I expected, Tom Hollman had already run the first article about Stan---it was pretty big and located one page before the obituaries. It was also premature (not enough information) and, as I expected, he dwelled on Stan's past---more newsworthy I guess. He promised me he will write a proper obit when I provide him with more information. Then, he is going to write a large editorial (as he did before) which will come out in several papers across the country. So, here is my problem:
I'm trying to beat him to the punch and provide as much information as we can for him. Accurate information. However, we want people to know and remember Stan the way we did: warm, giving, friendly, funny, humble and human---with many friends who loved him. His daughter Tina is providing me with everything Stan shared with her. I have already spoken with Jerry's agent. Tony is going to call me back and email me with any information he can provide, along with some enjoyable memories he said I can forward to Tom for quotes.
I was hoping you might be able to provide a direction I could take in somehow locating his brother and sister so I can at least tell them that their brother died and that he was loved. And I was also hoping you might be able to provide any kind of statement or sentiment that we could run in the editorial. Everyone in the world knows who you and Tony are and it would be the greatest gift Stan could have---I know because I knew him well. Both you and Tony are highly respected and I think it would bring some respect into Stan's editorial if you could add anything to it---just a sentence or two.
There are only a handful of TV shows and personalities that have endured the odds and crossed over through three generations. You and your show are a big part of it. You have already shown your generosity by writing back to me, as well as writing back so soon.
Thank you again, Paul, for responding. You are truly the caring person I figured you are----and Stan confirmed it as well.
Please write or call anytime.