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Edward J. Feidner

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Edward J. Feidner 1931 - 2008 BENNINGTON Edward J. Feidner, 77, of North Bennington Professor Emeritus of Theatre at the University of Vermont, died Thursday, April 24, at Fox Hill Center in Vernon, Conn., due to complications from a stroke. Edward Joseph Feidner was born on Feb. 26, 1931 in Marion, Ohio. He was a 1954 graduate from the University of Dayton. After serving in the Army, he completed his master of fine arts degree at Ohio University in 1958. He joined the faculty of UVM in 1958 and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters there in 2002. He was the first recipient of UVM's George V. Kidder award honoring excellence in teaching. Dr. Feidner's career at UVM spanned 36 years, during which he directed, produced or acted in more than 125 theatrical productions, including all but three of Shakespeare's plays. He was guided by the belief that Shakespeare should be the heart and soul of any university acting program and was producer and artistic director of Vermont's internationally renowned Champlain Shakespeare Festival for 18 years between 1962 and 1980. In 1965 Feidner was named the university's "First Director of Drama". In 1972 he was named UVM's "First Full Professor of Theatre", and in 1977 was named the department's "First Chairperson". In 1969, to meet UVM's need for a professional fine-arts complex, Feidner's creative proposal to transform what had originally been built as a gymnasium resulted in the establishment of UVM's Royall Tyler Theatre - a venue that continues to serve as a premier performance hall and one of the university's architectural gems. His long association with the Monomoy Theatre, the Ohio University Players' summer home on Cape Cod, began with its first season in 1958, and he returned there frequently as guest director until 1991. After his retirement from UVM in 1994, he portrayed Ethan Allen in a one-man show throughout Vermont and pursued various research projects, including the publication of "Dear Wife", the civil war letters of Chester K. Leach. Feidner also created and served as executive director of the Institute on Elizabethan Arts and Letters and was a charter member of the Vermont Council on the Arts. He and his wife moved to North Bennington in 2000 from Hinesburg, where he was a charter member of the Lion's Club, Justice of the Peace. In North Bennington, he was a member of the Norshaft Lion's club, and stockholder in the Sage City Syndicate. He leaves his wife of 52 years, Mary of North Bennington; a brother Larry, of Columbus, Ohio; his five children, Julie Feidner and David Eckert and their two children, Kirin and Robert of Ellington, Conn.; Elizabeth Boepple and her son Dylan of Manchester, Vt.; David and Pam Feidner and their three children Zachary, Nicole and Nathan of Rochester, Mich.; Eric Feidner and Marcelle Soviero and their five children Luke, Sophia, Olivia, Jamie and Johnny of Wilton, Conn., and Jon Feidner and Clare Avery of New York City. FUNERAL NOTICE: A celebration of his life will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 10 at the Park-McCullough House in North Bennington and on Saturday, June 14 at 11 a.m. at the Royall Tyler Theatre in Burlington. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Edward J. Feidner Award Fund, which provides scholarships for UVM Theatre majors, and mailed to : UVM Department of Theatre Royall Tyler Theatre 116 University Place Burlington, VT 05405 Attention: Molly Kurent
Published in Bennington Banner on Apr. 28, 2008
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