Jonesport – Robert Leon Feeney, 85, left the classroom for the last time on July 15, 2016 after an extended battle with cancer. His final days were spent in his beautiful home overlooking Chandler Bay, surrounded by family. Leading up to his death, many long time friends came to pay their respects and say goodbye to our father. The love and stories shared during these visits were greatly appreciated.
Robert, (“Ditz,” “Bob,” “Mr. Feeney,”) was born August 9, 1930 in Jonesport, Maine to Helen Look Feeney and Peter Fred Feeney. At the age of 23, he married his childhood sweetheart, Gloria Kelley Feeney, his loving, surviving wife of 63 years. In addition to his wife Gloria, are his four children—Kenton, Pam, Wanda, and Peter, son-in-law Christopher Smith who was like a son to him, and each of their families to include seven grandchildren—Darrell Feeney, Rachael Huntley, Mathew Rogde, Gina Feeney, Sara Smith, Zachary Smith, and Genevieve Feeney; and six great grandchildren.
He attended Jonesport schools where he excelled in academics and athletics. Upon graduating high school in 1949, he enrolled at the University of Maine at Orono, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. In 1951, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he became an aircraft mechanic until being honorably discharged in 1955. After military service, he returned to college at both Brown University and at the University of Maine system to pursue a career in education.
His first job as “Mr. Feeney” following college was teaching math and science at Jonesport High School from 1958 to 1968. In a short time, he was appointed principal. He quickly gained a lasting reputation of being firm, but fair. Some of the best stories that were recently shared were of these first years of his career that included the 1966 varsity team basketball championship and our father’s added role as the junior varsity coach.
In 1968, “Mr. Feeney” went to the newly consolidated Narraguagus High School as assistant principal. He remained in this school system for twelve years where he continued on as high school principal and assistant superintendent of SAD 37. During this time, he continued to be very well respected as an educator and person.
In 1980, he returned to the Jonesport-Beals community as superintendent of schools where he served with distinction until his first retirement in 1987. During his years in education, he was an active member of the Maine Teachers’ Association and the State Principals’ Association. Throughout his career, he maintained high standards of academic and athletic excellence.
Dad became involved in the local seafood industry after his departure from the educational field. He thoroughly enjoyed his time as “right-hand man” at Moosabec Mussels for one of his former students and dear friend, Ralph Smith. He worked both ashore and afloat in this capacity for another twenty years. His weekly delivery trips allowed our father to become acquainted with many people he considered true friends.
“Ditz” also led by example in his personal life and was active in the community. Over the years, he was involved in town team sports and was also a deacon in the R.L.D.S. church. For enjoyment, he loved lobster fishing and hunting. It is important to mention the lifelong partnership he had with his wife Gloria. They were a strong, unified team that set excellent examples of good work ethic and discipline for their children and others. They embarked on many endeavors together that ranged from building their home to gardening to raking blueberries.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to either: The Ark Animal Shelter, 60 Barber Lane, Cherryfield, Maine 04622, or: Downeast Hospice Volunteers, Calais Regional Hospital, 24 Hospital Lane, Calais, Maine 04619.
A funeral service and a celebration of our father’s life will be held at the Community of Christ Church at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, July 22nd.
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