On the first day of his retirement, Fennelly sat in a ballroom in the 1920’s, surrounded by the world’s most successful artists, executives, and politicians.
There, he had an audience that included his fellow artists, and he also had a few other people who would become famous, including his longtime friend and protégé, Florence Henderson, and his sister, the singer Shirley Singery.
In his first few weeks in retirement, the Wall Street journal published an article about Fennells career, and one of the first things Fennels first wrote was that he would be working for the Wall Streets Journal on his birthday.
“I’ve always said I would like to retire in style,” Fennel wrote in his obituary.
When Fennes retirement was announced in November 1920, his obituaries ranged from his good health to his lack of longevity to the many famous people who had passed away that year.
In the article that followed, Fenton was also a fan of the New York Times, but he didn’t share his enthusiasm for the paper’s coverage of the war.
He wrote that “the news of my retirement is much more important to me than the present.”
Fennells obit became a hit in New York, with a story in the January 1920 issue of the newspaper featuring him sitting in a New York City restaurant with his wife and daughter.
The story went on to become the first piece of entertainment written by an American during World War I.
Fennell had been a fixture at the New Yorker headquarters, and the paper would eventually publish his obits, which would become a staple of newspaper coverage.
Fenners obit also featured a brief tribute to his beloved wife Shirley, who died in the early 1940s at age 78.
In the obit, Fettons wife, Sylvia, writes that she has “always loved the newspaper and will always treasure it.”
Sylvia’s obit continued her legacy with an image of her and Fennella, who she said, “looked like a father and a grandfather, and would always smile.”
After the war, Fenwick returned to New York for the first time since retiring.
The Wall was his home and the home of the magazine.
Fenwick’s obituuary is the only one in the world that features his wife Sylvia, who would be his daughter and the widow of one of his former business partners.
Fenricks daughter Shirley, then 17, wrote a letter to the newspaper in 1939, in which she wrote that she was proud of Fennill and his family.
Shelley Singery, who wrote a book about Fenell called William Fenton: A Life in Pictures, said she was happy with Fennalls legacy.
“He really meant so much to me, and I’m grateful that he’s still around,” Singery said.
The Wall Street J has a new issue on March 22, 2020, and is scheduled to debut in 2019.