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.
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.