Joseph H. Felong, a Buffalo native and longtime Bethlehem Steel worker, died Thursday in a Fort Myers, Fla., hospice, following a long illness. He was 71.
Mr. Felong grew up in Buffalo and graduated from Canisius High School before enlisting in the Air Force in 1953. He served as a Morse code operator in the Korean War and was honorably discharged in 1956. Following active duty, he earned a bachelor's degree in sociology at Canisius College, and began a 31-year management career with Bethlehem Steel Corp.
Active in Catholic parish communities throughout his life, he was a founding organizer of West Seneca's Queen of Heaven carnival, a tradition now in its third decade.
In 1986, Mr. Felong and his wife relocated to Bonita Springs, Fla., where he was an usher and active member of the choir of St. John the Evangelist Church in Naples. He was also a 4th degree Knight in the Knights of Columbus.
In addition to his wife of 45 years, the former Colleen Kane, he is survived by three sons, Joe and Gary of Buffalo and Bill of Syracuse; two daughters, Kathy Pietrusinski of Erie, Pa. and Diane Ferguson of Batavia, Ill.; a sister, Ann Flaherty of Buffalo; and 13 grandchildren.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. May 6 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Naples, Fla. A memorial service will be held in Buffalo at a later date.