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Alexander Feiner

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Alexander Feiner Obituary
Feiner, Alexander
Apr. 12, 1928 - Aug. 30, 2014
Alec Feiner, a resident of Rumson, NJ and Sarasota, FL, passed away peacefully on August 30th, 2014 of Parkinson's disease. Alec's life trajectory followed a steep arc. In Europe for the first two decades he lived through the turbulence of World War II, experiencing dislocation and deprivation in Poland and Northern Russia where his father died in a Labor Camp. He lost 3 years of schooling, experienced child labor in a factory that made wheels for railroad cars, and learned to supplement a meager diet with wild mushrooms and berries. Coming to the US in 1950 with his mother and brother, he quickly added English to his proficiency in Polish, Russian and German, and obtained a master's degree from Columbia University. In 1952 he was recruited to Bell Laboratories where he remained for 40 years. He was an engineer and executive by profession, an inventor by avocation. He held 47 patents in telephony ranging from the small ferreed switch, seminal to telephony in the 1960's and 70's, to large communications systems for industry, commerce and the military. A New York Times article (10/23/1975) began with this paragraph:' Alec Feiner is a member of the much honored but poorly understood profession followed by Eli Whitney of the cotton gin, Samuel F B Morse of the telegraph, Alexander Graham Bell of the telephone and Thomas Alva Edison of the electric light. Mr. Feiner is an inventor. In fact, he produced one of the most successful inventions in the history of that hothouse of invention, Bell Telephone Laboratories. Mr. Feiner invented the basic electrical contact, known as the ferreed cross point.' Alec was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Engineering in 1983, and was the recipient of the International Society of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Engineering Excellence Award in 1991. Alec was an avid skier. On frequent business trips to Colorado, his ski equipment was brought along. With a partner, he designed and manufactured a coin-operated ski machine which could be found next to the juke box in many ski lodges in the 1960s and 70's. At home, he was the ultimate do-it-yourself man. He cut his own hair, mowed his own lawn, grew large swaths of raspberries and produced about 100 jars of raspberry jam each fall. He taught his children to recognize edible wild mushrooms. Alec collected antiquarian botanical books, mostly on the subject of mycology. He loved Chopin's music, Russian Opera, and Pre-Columbian Art. He was an early and strong supporter of women in the workplace, and was a trustee of the Monmouth Child Care Center. Mourned by Helen Feiner MD wife for 45 years; Leonard Feiner MD, son (Shoshana Feiner MD), Deborah Feiner MD, daughter (Michael Coughlan), Gillian Feiner Esq, daughter (Carl Solander); seven grandchildren. Predeceased by Leon Feiner, father; Dorothy Feiner (Pomeranz), mother; George Feiner, brother.
Private funeral was held at Bethel El cemetery, Paramus, NJ on September 4, 2014.

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Published in Herald Tribune from Sept. 14 to Sept. 15, 2014
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