Charles G. Feist Sr., 83, Beth Steel assistant superintendent

November 03, 2003|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

Charles G. Feist Sr., a retired assistant superintendent of the industrial relations department at Bethlehem Steel Corp. and a former high school and college basketball referee, died of cancer Thursday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The longtime Parkville resident was 83.

He was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pa., where he attended Liberty High School and played on the football, soccer and baseball teams. After graduating in 1937, Mr. Feist worked at his uncle's dairy to earn money to attend college.

In 1940, he enrolled at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., and joined the football team. While at Muhlenberg, Mr. Feist took a civilian pilot training course that required him to participate in military service in the event of war.

Mr. Feist was called for duty in the Navy in 1942. He served as a lieutenant with the squadron known as the "Hellcats," on the carrier USS Fanshaw Bay during World War II.

"His mom was very afraid and didn't like airplanes," said his daughter, Melinda McGhin of Baltimore. "She would complain about the young men who were buzzing over the house. Of course, that was him. He would purposefully fly over the house and fly low" to tease his mother.

In 1944, while on a 30-day leave, he returned to Bethlehem, where he proposed to and married Adelle McGowan Kahler. She died in 1988.

After the war, Mr. Feist returned to Muhlenberg College, earning his bachelor's degree in political science in 1948.

A year later, he moved his family to Baltimore and began his 35-year career at Bethlehem Steel Corp. in the industrial relations department, negotiating and administering union steelworker contracts for the company.

"He was a very good man, ... a very good citizen," said Perry Hall resident Louis Ermer, who worked with Mr. Feist at Bethlehem Steel.

In the early 1950s, Mr. Feist became a member of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials and served as a high school and college referee. It was a job he loved and performed for two decades, his daughter said.

After Mr. Feist retired from Bethlehem Steel in 1984, he worked for the University System of Maryland as an arbitrator.

A funeral was held yesterday at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 8808 Harford Road, Parkville. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Stephen's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 67 W. Washington Ave., Bethlehem, Pa.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by a son, Charles Feist Jr. of Baltimore; a sister, Virginia Humphreys of Bethlehem; a brother, Donald Feist of San Diego; a granddaughter; seven step-grandchildren; and five step-great-grandchildren.

Donations may be made to St. Stephen's or to St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

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