Harlan Ross Feltus

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Harlan Ross Feltus


On December 24, 1939, in Monrovia, California, Harlan Ross Feltus was born to Abraham Ross Feltus and Marjorie Ellen Scott, their first born child. Throughout Harlans youth, the family resided in Bakersfield, California. In 1952, Harlan was preceded in death by his father, Abraham Ross and throughout their adolescent years, Harlan and his siblings worked diligently to help their mother by taking jobs in addition to getting an education. He attended Bakersfield High School, while working for the Bakersfield Junior College as a Pre-Med major and worked for the Bakersfield Fire Department, thereafter taking employment with the Porterville Department of Social Work. Following his time there, Harlan Ross enlisted in the United States Army as a paramedical technician. It was during this time Harlan focused his sights on a career as a photographer, honing his skills and discovering his own natural talent for capturing the beauty of the world in every face, and even in the most broken down relic of a curiosity.

The United States Army stationed Harlan Ross in Germany where he married and decided to take up residency at the end of his military enlistment. This decision would affect the very fabric of the Feltus family, as his life would become a virtual lens unto the world outside of California, and a broadened horizon was displayed, inspiring his family and friends to dream, to travel, and to discover their own unique creativity.

In his 40 years in Germany, Harlan Ross Feltus became a well-respected photographer, having photograped some of the worlds most beautiful women, and in earlier years, was much loved for his amazing photographs of children, especially the Fritz and Friends collection which featured his son Fritz, his youngest child. His fashion editorials and commercial photography have appeared in some of the worlds most prestigious publications and other works have appeared in published collections alongside other highly acclaimed colleagues from across the globe.

In later years, Harlan Ross became involved with UNICEF, photographing pictures for yearly calendars which would raise substantial funds to help care for the less fortunate children of the world. He donated many of his works to such charities and had a burning desire to incite sensitivity and awareness to anyone and everyone he knew.

In the last years of his life Harlan Ross took a pilgrimage to Ghana, Africa, and took some of the most moving and impacting photographs of his entire career, photographing the people of Ghana and celebrating the stirring beauty of the African face.

In June of 2002, it was discovered that Harlan Ross Feltus was in the advanced stages of inoperable cancer. He spent most of the last year of his life in Miami, Florida, with his daughter, Barbara, where he spent much of his time getting his spiritual and familial houses in order. This included an urgent and passionate focus on his grandson, Noah, instilling many life lessons in him, which will never be forgotten. He acted as a father to his grandchildren in those last months, in ways to which hed newly discovered his path. This last year was a lesson for the entire family. It was a lesson in hope, in fighting, in courage, in family, in love, in seizing the day, in self-pride, in forgiveness, in acceptance of the unchangeable, and in perseverance.

In the last weeks of his life, he became enchanted with the phenomenal beauty of the sun rising over the Atlantic. He would rise each morning before dawn and wait on the ocean view terrace of his daughters home and would wait there for the sun to arrive, thankful for another day. He captured many of these amazing daily miracles with his camera and recorded them so that we might be reminded constantly of the gift of a new day.

It is these moving photographs of the sunrise, and those of the people of Ghana, which will be the final legacy of a long and fruitful career.

His fight in the last days of his life was more focused on healing of familial ties more than physical survival, and he can be proud to know the success of his efforts will be carried on long after his passing.

On January 18, 2003, Harlan Ross Feltus ended his courageous battle with cancer, due to pneumonia. His mother, Marjorie Ellen Scott-Tomlin also preceded him in death in 1978. He leaves behind 2 daughters, Hannah Marjorie-38, Barbara Ellen-37, and 1 son, Fritz-22; their mothers, Ursula, and Margaret, and his life companion of almost 10 years, Laura, who was instrumental in making his last days the happiest time of his life; his siblings, Anita, Abraham, Helena, and Ellen, 2 grandsons, Noah Gabriel, and Elias Balthasar, 7 nieces and nephews, and countless friends and family around the world. However, he leaves us in flesh only, and not in spirit, and thus we claim the celebration of his life over the mourning of his departure from it.

Funeral services will be held Monday, February 3, 2003, 10:00 a.m. 1:00 p.m., at St. Peter Restoration Community Christian Ministries, 510 E. Brundage Ln, in Bakersfield.

Published in Bakersfield Californian from Jan. 31 to Feb. 1, 2003
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