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John F. Feist, builder, Air Force lieutenant colonel

Aug. 7, 1930 – March 23, 2014

John F. Feist, a builder and lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, died Sunday at his home in Springville after a long illness. He was 83.

Born in Buffalo, he graduated from Canisius High School in 1948. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Arkansas Polytechnic University in 1965 and a master’s degree in logistics from the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, in 1971.

As a youth, he was a builder for his late father’s business, John Feist Construction Co. from 1944 to 1948, formerly known as Feist & Drake Inc. The family business was responsible for constructing housing developments, including the Parkside-Shoshone area and the Lawrence and Starin avenues housing subdivision.

His passion to see the world led Mr. Feist to leave the family business and travel. He worked for Sandy Beach Construction Co. in Barbados, British West Indies, from 1960 to 1961. He later became a construction supervisor for TIDE Construction in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, from 1961 to 1962.

He joined the Air Force in 1962.

Mr. Feist, who was known as Jack, served as a lieutenant colonel from 1962 to 1979. His military career included service in the Vietnam War, and he was stationed in Okinawa, Turkey, the Netherlands and the U.S. He was a recipient of the Bronze Star, Vietnam Service Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Combat Crew Badge, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Gallantry Cross, a military decoration by the former government of South Vietnam.

Mr. Feist was a member of the Niagara Falls Air National Guard from 1957 to 1960.

A lover of classical music and the arts, he loved to sail, fly and take his family to exotic places.

His wife, Eleanor H. Herron Feist, died in March 2009.

Survivors include a son, Richard; three daughters, Christie Sternbach-Feist, Alison Steiner and Laura; two sisters, Rosemary Hess and Frances Russell; and six grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered 9:30 a.m. Saturday in Blessed John Paul II Catholic Church, 2052 Lakeview Road, Lake View.

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