Fels, John Van Dyke
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John V. Fels, 90, died April 14, 2013. John was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 14, 1922. He grew up in Cleveland and later moved to Kentucky, when his father was made head of the YMCA in Louisville. John graduated from Louisville Male High School and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, both of which meant a great deal to him. He also earned a law degree at Harvard University. In college he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, founded at Miami. John left college in February 1943 to join the Army Air Corps. Working as a radio operator on a B-29, he was stationed in China, Central Burma, and India. His final posting was on the island of Tinian, from which the Enola Gay took off to drop the first atomic bomb. Discharged in October 1945, he returned to Miami, where he met his wife, Patricia ("Polly") Malcom; they were married on May 25, 1948, in Mariemont, Ohio. John worked for the law firm Henderson, Quail, Schneider and Peirce in Cleveland for 11 years. His daughter Patricia Malcom ("Patty") was born in 1953. The family moved to Phoenix in 1960, when John went into law practice with his former Harvard classmate Robert Allen. He retired in 1991 from the firm Allen, McClennen & Fels. John served more than 30 years in the Air Force Reserve, retiring as a colonel. He also served as a member and president of the Phoenix Union High School District Board of Education. John enjoyed taking military correspondence courses, reading about history, collecting jokes, watching science fiction movies, and traveling, especially to Mexico. He and Polly rented a house in San Miguel de Allende for many summers. He was a long-time member of the Phoenix Country Club. John is survived by his wife, his daughter (Daniel Neukom) of Sacramento, California, and twin granddaughters, Francie Patricia and Kelly Ruth Neukom. The memorial service will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in John's name to Cornerstone Hospice; 7310 N. 16th Street, #200; Phoenix, AZ 85020.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Apr. 24 to Apr. 25, 2013