Melvin Feuer: School volunteer was 92

mike-feuer-mel-mailer.jpgMike Feuer campaign mailer.

Melvin Feuer, the father of Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, died today at age 92. The senior Feuer was featured earlier this year in a Steve Lopez column in the Los Angeles Times for his twice-weekly routine of volunteering to talk with kids at Castle Heights Elementary School in Beverlywood — a retirement ritual he has carried on for more than two decades.

And more. From the Feuer family obituary:

The atrocities of the Holocaust inspired Mel to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942. A ball turret gunner in a B-24 bomber, Mel was shot down and captured by the Nazis, who imprisoned him for a year in the infamous Stalag 17. Through the love of music he developed as a child prodigy, Mel used a worn violin to help raise morale in the camp, performing in a makeshift orchestra and jazz band. At the end of an arduous march across Austria, Mel and his fellow prisoners were liberated by American troops. Mel was awarded a number of medals, including the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters.

Having witnessed the horrors of war, Mel committed himself to building a better world by educating children. He served as a teacher and elementary school principal in San Bernardino for thirty-six years, earning deep respect from educators and students alike. A leader in desegregation and the principal of one of California's first bilingual schools, Mel was an education leader who cared deeply about every child. Mel later taught at California State University, helping aspiring teachers become effective educators.

Upon moving to Los Angeles to be close to his grandchildren, Mel joined the Maple Counseling Center as a volunteer, inspiring Los Angeles and Beverly Hills students on issues from combating bullying to maintaining integrity in their daily lives.

Mel was an avid sports lover, rooting for his hometown Cleveland Indians and all UCLA teams. He was also a true "people person," with an endearing sense of humor and unfailing optimism.

Funeral services are Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Hillside Memorial Park.

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