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Charles B. Fancher Sr., a leader in Tennessee higher education, has died. He was 99. 

Fancher, who had a career in higher education that spanned nearly 30 years and two states, died Monday after dealing with an abdominal condition. He was two weeks away from his 100th birthday. 

Throughout his career, Fancher served in various higher education roles in Tennessee, including as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the Tennessee Board of Regents, a position he retired from in 1985. While there, he oversaw the court-ordered merger of Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Nashville.

While working at TSU, Fancher was tapped to serve as interim president of the university, where he held other positions during his tenure, such as dean of faculty and vice president of academic affairs. 

He also worked in education in Alabama. During his first job teaching at an Athens high school, he was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, where he rose to the position of 2nd Lieutenant. 

While teaching in Alabama after the war, he met his wife, Evelyn Pitts. The couple celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in December. 

Fancher was a longtime member of First Baptist Church, Capitol Hill and was ordained as a deacon in 1987. He was involved in civic and social clubs in Nashville, including the Optimist Club of Central Nashville and the NAACP.

Fancher is survived by his wife; three children, Charles, Mark and Adrienne; grandson, Toussaint; and sisters, Mildred and Jacqueline. 

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Lewis and Wright Funeral Directors. 

Reach Brinley Hineman at [email protected] and on Twitter @brinleyhineman.

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