John Felker knew he wasn’t going to go on forever, but he had a favorite cause that he wanted live on.
John died yesterday on his 93rd birthday, but his Performing Arts for Youth will continue to send students to plays, operas, dance performances and concerts in 10 area school district as a charitable fund within the Community Foundation. Since its founding in 1985, thousands of Fox Cities elementary school students have been introduced to live performance by John’s organization.
John got interested in musical performances when he attended USO shows in the military. He was never much of a performer himself, other than being a drum major in high school. He started Performing Arts for Youth the year after he retired as an ad salesman at The Post-Crescent. He and his wife, Waida, were on a moonlight cruise on Frank Shattuck’s yacht when John suggested it to the Neenah philanthropist, who fully endorsed the idea.
Three years ago, John arranged to have the program’s $100,000 in assets transferred to a fund within the Community Foundation, with a three-person committee appointed to decide which acts area youth will see.
The Funeral Service for John will be held on Friday, Sept. 30, 11 a.m. at Immanuel United Church of Christ (118 Oak St., Neenah). Friends will be received directly at the church from 9 a.m. until the hour of service. See the full obituary.