DECATUR, TX (RNN Texoma) - A Wichita Falls Police Department officer who was killed in the line of duty eight decades ago was honored Monday morning.
80 years after his death, the grave of Special Officer Robert Franklin Fennell was given a headstone for the first time. Officer Fennell died in March of 1938 when his throat was slashed with a razor by a man that was kicked out of a local nightclub.
“The only thing that was marking his grave was a rock,” said WFPD officer Brian Bohn. “That’s the only way that they knew where he was buried so we took it from there.”
Thanks to a kind donation from The 100 Club, Boulder Designs and Border Magic a new headstone was built and revealed Monday morning at Sweetwater Cemetery in Decatur.
Jantzen Davoult with Boulder Designs and Border Magic helped create the headstone. Davoult’s stepfather is a police officer so when the opportunity to help with this project for Officer Fennell came along Davoult did not have to think twice.
Officer Fennell’s daughter was just 11 years old when he was killed. His family says memories with him are slim.
“He was loving and he took care of them,” said Peggy Owens, Officer Fennell’s granddaughter.
Owens believes he would be proud of his new headstone.
"It's a wonderful thing," said Owens. "I'm so thankful for it and my family. It's a great honor for us."
"It's long overdue," said Officer Bohn. "I'm just glad it's here."
Officer Fennell had been appointed a special officer by the Wichita Falls police chief several weeks before he died. He also served with the Burkburnett and Electra Police Departments.