Remembering Mickey Feiner

It’s astonishing that someone lives over 100 years, and dies in obscurity.

It happened this fall to Vivien Testa. A superb art teacher, townwide director of art, and mentor to countless students and teachers; a 40-year educator who began teaching here in 1936, and a Westport resident for over 70 years, she died in September at 102. The 1st notice of her death was on this blog, 2 months later.

Mickey Feiner’s passing was similarly unnoticed. He died April 23 — just a couple of months shy of his 107th birthday.

And what a full 107 years he had!

Born on July 4, 1908 in Springfield, Massachusetts, he began his retailing career at Hartford’s fabled G. Fox. He spent the bulk of his career with May Department Stores, retiring as president of May Merchandising in 1974.

In other words: After a lifetime of working, he retired during the Ford administration.

Mickey Feiner

Mickey Feiner

He and his wife Elaine moved from Westport — his home of nearly 20 years — to Florida. He began a new career in politics, serving 13 years as mayor of Key Colony Beach. He spent 6 more after that as chairman of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.

Then, in 1995 — around the time Bob Dole was gearing up to challenge the incumbent President Clinton — the Feiners moved back to Westport. At the age of 87 he got re-involved in civic service. Mickey served 2 years on the  Town Site Planning Committee, 5 on the School Building Committee, and 2 years as vice chair of the Greens Farms School renovations subcommittee.

I met Mickey Feiner a few years ago, at his beautiful Stony Point home. Well over 100, he was still working — as facilities manager of a Norwalk shopping center. Yet that was not even the most remarkable thing.

He wanted to show me a news story. So he headed upstairs — very steadily — and found exactly what he was looking for.

On his computer.

All of us strive for a life well spent. In 106 years, it sure seems that Mickey’s was.

I would hate for his death to pass unnoticed. It should be an inspiration to us all.

 

5 responses to “Remembering Mickey Feiner

  1. Bruce Nemirow

    Wonderful article, thank you.

  2. Maxine Bleiweis

    Mickey proudly unlocked the Westport Library doors on the occasion of the shared 100th birthday in 2008. Both were products of 1908.

  3. john Hooper

    Mickey and Elaine were good friends of my parents. I spent many a night at their house on the Saugatuck. My Dad would tell me the great things he was doing in Florida and amazed he was still driving! He was a rare person who gave of himself and stayed remarkably active despite his age.

    Elaine was the free spirit, and quite a “pistol” as my dad would say.of the couple. She was quite an accomplished artist. She painted many outdoor scenes from her house, though her focus was abstracts. We have two of her pieces hanging on our walls. They both are fondly remembered and will be missed.

  4. Thank you (and Mickey) for a lovely story, Dan.

  5. Oh my goodness. God bless him. Thank you for such an enheartening story, Dan!

    It seems you really do carry the heartbeat of this town in your chest!