Richard Lee McFeeters Sr., 96, of Cinnaminson, a Navy veteran and bank executive in Philadelphia, died Friday, June 1, of heart disease at Brightview Mount Laurel, an assisted living facility.
Mr. McFeeters was assistant vice president of loans at Fidelity Bank in Center City in the 1960s and ’70s. He retired from Fidelity in 1977 and went to work at several other banks in Philadelphia.
At Christmastime, Mr. McFeeters would take his sons, Richard Jr. and John, to Fidelity as an outing. “He used to walk us around, and his boss would hand my brother and me a $20 bill,” Richard Jr. said.
Born in Chester Hill, Clearfield County, Pa., Mr. McFeeters grew up in Phillipsburg, Pa., where he graduated from high school. In 1960, he married Dorothy Jean Lamont, known as Jean. The couple moved to a new development in Cinnaminson, where they raised a family.
Mr. McFeeters had a long record of service with the Navy. He enlisted in February 1944 during World War II and was assigned to the Navy Base in Philadelphia. In November of that year, he was transferred to the Navy’s base in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was honorably discharged to the Navy Reserve in January 1947 with the rank of yeoman second class.
In 1952, he was working as a clerk-typist for the Pennsylvania State Employment Service when he was called to active duty as a cryptology technician at the Navy Base. At that time, the United States was at war in Korea. He served two years before being honorably discharged to the reserves.
He was awarded the National Defense Medal. As a cryptologist, he would have been responsible for analyzing encrypted messages, jamming enemy radar signals, deciphering messages in foreign languages, and maintaining equipment and networks used to generate secret intelligence in support of the war effort, according to the Navy website.
“We always thought he was a spy,” joked his sons. “All we ever saw were pictures of him playing tennis in Puerto Rico.”
Mr. McFeeters continued in the reserve until he was discharged for the last time in 1982, his family said.
“Our summer vacations were his two weeks of active duty each year,” said John. The family went to naval training centers at Bainbridge in Maryland, Pensacola in Florida, and Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.
For 12 years, ending with her death from multiple sclerosis in 1999, Mr. McFeeters provided round-the-clock care for his wife at their home. “He took care of her basically himself,” said Richard Jr.
When Richard Jr. married Laurie McMahon in 1994, the wedding party crowded into Jean’s bedroom after the ceremony. Mr. McFeeters was sitting holding his wife’s hand. She had been too ill to attend the ceremony.
“I remember thinking that his pure love and unselfish commitment represented the true meaning of marriage,” wrote Lisa Tighue, a member of the wedding party, in an online condolence book.
An active volunteer, Mr. McFeeters helped run local Boy Scout troops and worked with multiple sclerosis fundraising organizations after his wife’s death.
Throughout that time, he was a member of Moshannon Masonic Lodge #391 in Phillipsburg and a 33rd degree Mason. To attain that rank, a member must show leadership qualities and a desire to serve the community.
In addition to his sons, Mr. McFeeters is survived by two grandchildren.
A visitation starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 7, will be followed by an 11 a.m. funeral service at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2618 New Albany Rd., Cinnaminson. Interment, with full military honors, will be in Lakeview Memorial Park, Cinnaminson.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Sierra Club via www.sierraclub.org/, or to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Box 4527, New York, N.Y. 10163 or via www.nationalmssociety.org/.