Lifelong Alaska resident John E. Feero of Sterling died Tuesday, March 13, 2007, during a flight home from a vacation in Hawaii.
A funeral Mass will be held at noon Saturday, March 31, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Soldotna. Father Frank Reitter will officiate. A reception immediately following the service will be held at the Sterling Senior Center. Interment will be held in the summer in the columbarium at the Shrine of St. Therese in Juneau.
Mr. Feero was born April 4, 1930, to Alta and William Feero in Douglas. His grandfather went to Skagway in 1897 during the Klondike Gold Rush. His grandfather owned a pack train to carry supplies over White Pass and died on the trail in 1898. Mr. Feero’s father was 15 years old at the time and the family remained in Skagway until after he married. Then the family moved to Douglas but moved back to Skagway after the fire in Douglas in 1937. Mr. Feero attended school in Skagway and graduated from high school in 1949. From 1951-53 he was in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stationed at Ladd Field in Fairbanks and Fort Richardson in Anchorage. Because he was an Alaskan he was not eligible to receive overseas pay.
On Oct. 11, 1953, he married Eleanor Boyd, his high school sweetheart at the Pius X Mission Chapel in Skagway. In June 1955 he joined the U.S. Customs Service as a customs and marine inspector. He transferred to Ketchikan in 1957. In 1970 after some of these duties were transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard he transferred to Juneau to work as a civilian with the Coast Guard. He transferred to Anchorage in 1980 in the same capacity. He retired from federal service in June 1983. After his federal retirement he performed marine survey work for a short time. Mr. Feero retired in 1989 when he and his wife moved to their cabin in Sterling.
Mr. Feero also spent 30 years as a volunteer fireman in Skagway, Ketchikan and Douglas, where he was fire chief for a number of years. During his time in Douglas, Mr. Feero was active in community events and instrumental in the renovation of Mount Jumbo’s gym.
Mr. Feero became active in the Sterling Senior Center and served four years as president. He also was a member of Pioneers of Alaska (Ketchikan Igloo), Elks in Skagway (BPOE No. 431), past president of the Alaska State Firefighters Association, American Legion Post No. 75 and life member of the Sterling Senior Citizens, as well as a member of Nikiski and Cooper Landing senior citizens organizations.
“John was a special person with a wonderful sense of humor and knack for stirring up trouble. He always told his children he was made of blue twisted steel, but it was obvious it melted as he grew older. We had a hard time distinguishing his stories from lies but we now know it depends on the size of the fish. John was checking out the friendly skies before his passing. John said ‘He will be able to view the beautiful scenery of Lynn Canal from his interment place in Juneau,’” his family said.
Mr. Feero was preceded in death by brothers, Robert and William; and sisters, Geneva Walters, Wilma Jensen, Myrtle Edwards and Evaline Egbert.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Eleanor; daughters and sons-in-law, Marcia and Bill Ballard, Margi and Edward Maki, Debbie and Larry Besemann, Karen Feero and Satch Tapangco, Susie Feero and Julie Feero; son and daughter-in-law, John W. and Francine Feero; grandchildren, Amy, Sarah, Jed and his wife Heather, Jennifer, Jonathan, Michael, Alex, Melissa, Joseph, Benjamin, Jordan, John, Christopher and Anessa; great-grandchildren, Cole, Adrianna, Alexandra and Skyler; cousin, Grace Russo; and numerous other cousins, nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial donations be made to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Soldotna or the endowment fund at Sterling Senior Center. Condolences may be sent to the family at P.O. Box 247, Sterling, AK 99672.
Arrangements were made by Diamond Head Mortuary in Hawaii.
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