Louis Jonathan Fano 

July 21, 1989 – February 5, 2017 

The following narrative in memory of Louis Jonathan Fano can only be described as a  labor of love by his two sisters, Dolores Alvarez-Zadikian and Vanessa Fano.

Jonathan was a son, a brother, and an uncle; and he is beloved by his family. Born in Van Nuys, California in 1989, Jonathan grew up with six siblings: Miguel, Miriam, Dolores, Betty, Ivan, and Vanessa. He and his family eventually moved to Reseda; a neighborhood located in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California. It was Reseda where Jonathan graduated from Cleveland High School. He then went on to attend Pierce Community College with his younger sister Vanessa. They would often drive to campus together and would sometimes even briefly cross paths on their way to and from their respective classes. Vanessa remembers Jonathan was interested in some sort of trade school or shorter-term program within the field of veterinary  medicine. Pierce Community College was practically next door to a trade school; so, there were often collaborations on various programs together. These opportunities sparked Jonathan’s interest, as he had always wanted to be a veterinarian. 

Jonathan had such a love for animals that he would even go out of his way to ensure that he never killed a bug, if he could avoid it. He went back and forth between being vegetarian and vegan, as he was committed to animal welfare in his everyday life. Jonathan had an immense love for his sister Dolores’ dog “Pam,” a Pomeranian, who stayed with him at their parent’s house. Pam usually stayed with Jonathan in his room, and he loved to spoil her by sneaking her food and dressing her up; often buying her little outfits at Target or TJ Maxx whenever the opportunity arose. In addition, he really wanted to get a Pomsky one day. A Pomsky is a cross between a Pomeranian and a Siberian Husky, and they are usually quite small even when fully-grown. Jonathan’s love of Pomskys eventually inspired his sister Dolores to get her family a Pomsky puppy. Dolores laughed as she admitted that instead of getting a Pomsky like they had initially thought, they accidentally took home a similar looking puppy who grew into a full-sized Siberian Husky! Dolores’ family went on to affectionately name their Pomsky-turned-Husky, “Puma.”

Louis Jonathan Fano

Louis Jonathan Fano

Jonathan was witty and clever, and seemed to really enjoy teasing and bantering back and forth with his family members. Dolores and Vanessa both smiled as they recounted how he would always have some type of commentary or quips to add to any situation. Jonathan loved to poke  fun; but was never mean-spirited in the slightest. For instance, he loved to joke around and say  things like: “Are you sure about that outfit?” or, “Oh, you’re not going to do your hair?” It made  me laugh to think about how often my brothers have and continue to tease me in that exact same  way.

Jonathan loved art, and in fact, art classes happened to be one of his favorite subjects in high  school. He would draw anything that came to mind, mostly detailed life portraits either with  pencil or colored pencils. He had entire binders and notebooks that were filled to the brim with  all of his drawings and sketches. Vanessa also spoke of how Jonathan’s hobbies included gaming, comic books, anime, and manga. These were some of the many interests he enjoyed sharing with  Vanessa while they were growing up. Vanessa revealed that their shared passions within the  virtual world went on to influence her choice in career path later in life. 

Jonathan really loved the Final Fantasy video game series, as well as Kingdom Hearts. For  reference, the Kingdom Hearts series is basically a combination of anime and Disney characters,  which I found especially interesting. Jonathan had a knack for fantasy games that were creative and world-building; games where the underdog character – the person often assumed to be least likely to make a difference – got a chance to change the course of history against all odds.

Jonathan loved the world of anime and manga—some of his favorite series were Inuyasha, Naruto, and One Piece. For reference, Inuyasha is about a teenage girl who periodically travels back in time to feudal Japan to help a half-demon recover the shards of a jewel of great power. Next, Naruto tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja who seeks recognition from his peers and dreams of becoming the Hokage, the leader of his village. Finally, One Piece follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his crew, the Straw Hat Pirates,  where he explores the Grand Line in search of the mythical treasure known as the “One Piece” to  become the next King of the Pirates. After learning a bit more about what each series was about, the appeal became apparent as well as the impact these stories may have had on Jonathan as each series is a tale of adventure with its own unique and inspiring character arc. Jonathan had several Japanese books and CD’s. He was even in the process of teaching himself Japanese to gain a better understanding of Japanese culture, as so many of his passions within the world of anime and manga originated in Japan. 

Even though Jonathan loved the world of anime the most, he also enjoyed the DC and Marvel universe. In fact, he probably possessed more DC and Marvel merchandise, since anime wasn’t as well-known while he was growing up. He had several collector comic books and a whole shoebox filled with superhero action figures. Interestingly, Jonathan preferred some of the  darker, more complicated characters and their stories, such as Batman, Wolverine, and Venom.  

Jonathan also enjoyed cooking in his spare time. Vanessa shared that their dad used to really enjoy cooking too, so it was fun for Jonathan to experiment and try to recreate some of their father’s recipes. Cooking was also one of the ways Jonathan would help around the house, because even though he did not always eat the same meals as everyone else, he still enjoyed cooking for the rest of his family.  

Family was the most important thing to Jonathan. Dolores recalled that even though many of their siblings are all grown up and out of the house nowadays, they still always try to come back together and have breakfast at their mom’s or a barbeque about every other weekend. After hearing these fond memories from his sisters, it was obvious how beloved Jonathan was to the entire family. He was so unbelievably kind and conscientious in the ways he navigated the world. Dolores’ last memory with Jonathan was when they were planting a garden around her house. He always wanted to help her out with whatever she may have been working on at the time, because that’s just the kind of person he was. 

Regardless of what may have been going on in his personal life, it was always Jonathan’s first  instinct to put his family first. One day, on his birthday, he took a bus downtown to babysit for a  family that needed his help. No questions asked. Jonathan had already mastered an impressive level of selflessness at such a young age. He was his mother’s joy and companion, and was always finding ways to help her out around the house. Together they were a team; they relied on one another and were always there for each other. It was very important for Jonathan to make time for each of his family members. At one point, he worked at a movie theater and would often try to get his family discounted tickets so they could go to the movies together. In addition, when he worked at Target, he would always encourage family members to use his employee discounts. Since the Target where he worked was near where Dolores and her children lived, they often surprised him by coming into the store to visit him during his shifts. 

When Pokémon Go first came out, Jonathan would often spend hours playing the game with his niece. Dolores laughed as she recalled how someone would always end up having to pick them up at the various locations (often the elementary school near their house) they may have found  themselves in while searching for Pokémon. 

When asked if there was any event in Jonathan’s life that impacted who he was as a person, his sisters spoke of how their mom’s divorce from Jonathan and Vanessa’s father was a really difficult time for them. And yet, although it can be complicated to navigate those dynamics as shifts in relationships take place, Vanessa spoke of how Jonathan was always there for her throughout that difficult time. Their parents’ separation took place when Vanessa was a teenager, which added an extra layer of difficulty as she was trying to figure out relationships. Jonathan understood this struggle and was always thoughtful enough to be the one to take the initiative and serve as a mediator between Vanessa and their father during that challenging time. Jonathan offered Vanessa a safe haven to feel her feelings. He offered perspective from both sides and was patient throughout the entire process. 

Jonathan was also someone who was always there to help  but would never make a big deal out of it or draw attention to himself. For instance, Vanessa shared that she later found out that Jonathan reached out to their father, and asked him to be there for her high school graduation. Jonathan knew that there had been bumps in the road between the two, but he also knew that he needed to convey to their father how important it was for him to attend Vanessa’s graduation no matter what. Their father ultimately did attend her graduation; and it meant so much. 

When asked what they would like people to know about Jonathan, that not many knew about him, Dolores and Vanessa thought for a minute before expressing that Jonathan had many layers. He was empathetic and selfless. At the same time, he kept a lot inside. And that would wear on him at times. He struggled with his mental health, but was also resilient and eager to experience the world. He tried hard every day of his life to work through the struggles that inevitably come with being human. Not a lot of people work as hard as Jonathan did to live an honest and truthful life. He always remained present through the challenges he was going through. 

Vanessa went on to voice that as special as he was, sometimes it seemed as if Jonathan had no idea how unique and wonderful he was. He was  humble—practically to a fault—and would sometimes struggle to see his worth. Jonathan was such an integral piece within the dynamics of his family.

As human beings, we are complicated and nuanced and beautiful. Jonathan was a smart, kind, and gentle soul who struggled sometimes. He loved his family, he felt guilty about killing bugs, and he cooked meals for others that he couldn’t even eat himself. He made beautiful and intricate Mother’s Day and Christmas cards by hand. He wrote Vanessa a heartfelt graduation card, letting her know that he was so proud of her and would always be there for her. These are things he should be remembered for. 

Dolores’ and Vanessa’s ability to be vulnerable through unimaginable pain is only a testament to how much Jonathan was loved, and how much he loved them in return. The hope of this narrative is to offer you all a little window into Jonathan’s world, as well as the legacy that lives on in the hearts of those who knew and loved him. 

Juan 3:16 (John 3:16) “Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que ha dado á su Hijo unigénito, para que todo  aquel que en él cree, no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna.”  (For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him  shall not perish but have eternal life.) 

Hechos 16:31 (Acts 16:31) “Y ellos dijeron: Cree en el Señor Jesucristo, y serás salvo tú, y tu casa.” (They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.”) 

Isaías 43:25 (Isaiah 43:25) “Yo, yo soy el que borro tus rebeliones por amor de mí; y no me acordaré de tus pecados.” (I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins  no more.)

Author: Erin Sellberg


  • Dolores Alvarez-Zadikian
  • Vanessa Fano
  • https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0290223/plotsummary/
  • https://kids.britannica.com/students/article/Naruto/635757#:~:text=The%20story%20foll ows%20a%20young,presented%20them%20in%20book%20form 
  • https://www.polygon.com/entertainment/23845804/one-piece-explained-anime-manga netflix-live-action