SHELBYVILLE, Ind. - Dick Fero passed away in the early morning Oct. 4, surrounded by family members, from complications following a stroke. He and family were fortunate to share his last days, in-person and Zoom calls, singing, telling stories and praying.
Dick was born in Plattsburgh, N.Y., on New Year's Eve, 1936, to Homer J. Fero, DDS and Mildred S. Fero.
The family moved to Houghton, N.Y., where his father became the dentist for the community and college there.
As a teenager, Dick dreamed of becoming a "crack pilot." Like many family members, he enrolled and began studies at Houghton College. But he finished his degree in psychology at Alfred University, before joining the U.S. Air Force, as a B52 crew member. Still pursing his dream, he left the Air Force for the U.S. Army.
Based in California, he returned to New York state on leave, meeting the daughter of his parents' college friends. Edith and Alvin Densmore, DDS, had known Dick's parents at Houghton College and now resided in neighboring Perry, where "Al" practiced dentistry.
Dick proposed to Annette and the two were married on Oct. 31, 1964, in Mt. Morris, with a reception at the Glen Iris Inn, in Letchworth State Park.
Next, Dick traveled to Vietnam as a U.S. Army advisor to the South Vietnamese. The young couple was fortunate to meet in Hawaii for their honeymoon. Upon returning, Dick finally realized his dream to fly, completing the U.S. Army's new helicopter school in Fort Rucker, Ala. He returned to Vietnam for a second tour.
Dick's U.S. Army Aviation career took him to Savannah, Ga.; Seoul, Korea; and then to Shelbyville, Ind. as the advisor to the Indiana National Guard.
After a brief final assignment at Fort Hood, Texas, Dick retired from the U.S. Army, and accepted his next assignment as personnel director at W.S. Major Hospital, where he spent the next nine years.
In Shelbyville, Dick began his commitment to community service joining many organizations and became a fervent Rotarian. He took on leadership roles in the Shelbyville community that were sometimes difficult. But Dick stayed focused on doing the right thing for the Shelbyville community.
He served many organizations and boards with mission-like commitment, including the Shelby County Public Library and Foundation and Shelbyville Aviation Board. He spent an extremely rewarding 20+ years with the sheltered workshop, Shares Inc., finding work projects for clients and chaperoning annual trips.
Dick's involvement in the community built an inner strength that motivated him to pursue political office, a surprise to some family members. He served as Shelby County Republican chairman and was then elected to three terms as a city of Shelbyville Common Council representative.
Never deterred by work to meet an objective, Dick walked streets and neighborhoods meeting residents and asking for their vote. Dick truly believed in doing what he felt was right for the city of Shelbyville.
In 2014, Dick and Anne celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with family at the Glen Iris Inn in New York state. And last year, they moved to a retirement village in Indianapolis.
Three weeks ago, Dick was so pleased to have a long visit with his granddaughter, Ellen Fero, who is a freshman student/athlete and pursuing a degree in psychology at Indiana State University.
He is survived by his two sons, John (Ilyse Hillebrand) of Indianapolis and Steven (Suzanne Thomas) of Fishers; his granddaughter, Ellen Fero of Terre Haute; and her mother, Lisa Fero of Fishers; three sisters, Nancy (Arne) Dahl of East Patchogue, N.Y., Virginia (Marty) French of Alexandria, Va. and Deborah (Paul) Young of Houghton.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday (Oct. 20, 2020) at the Houghton Wesleyan Church in Houghton, with burial in Freedom Cemetery.
Donations can be made in Dick's memory to the Shelby County Public Library Foundation.
Online condolences may be shared on Facebook or at wsdavisfuneralhome.com.