James Matthew Fellenstein
March 11, 1918 – April 18, 2014
James M. Fellenstein, 96, of Olathe, Kansas, passed away April 18, 2014. Memorial services will be held at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kansas. Private inurnment in Mt. Moriah Cemetery. Jim was born March, 1918, in Mound City, Illinois, about 26 miles north of Cairo, Illinois. For this first five years, he lived on a farm near Olmstead, Illinois. His father worked at the Fullers Earth Plant quarry, owned by the Standard Oil Company, at the edge of the Ohio River. From the farm, they moved to the nearby town of Grand Chain. Here he completed his elementary education, graduating in a class consisting of four girls and himself. After finishing high school in 1935, he worked in a grocery store for two years, and then enrolled in the Draughons Business College in Paducah, Kentucky. He then took a federal government exam for a secretarial position, and was placed as a junior clerk in the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. This was a rehabilitation center for narcotic addicts. In 1940 Jim requested and obtained a job transfer to the Public Health Service in Washington, DC. He soon transferred to the IRS, took courses by correspondence, and was appointed an Internal Revenue Agent in Chicago, IL. World War II broke out, he enlisted at Ft. Monroe, VA, and was soon assigned to a friend's Army Finance office in Newport News, VA. He then took OCS training, and was assigned as a 2nd Lt. to the Prisoner of War Camp in Concordia, KS. He finished his war-time duties as a 1st Lt. in the Finance office of the Army Separation Center in Leavenworth, KS. This got him acquainted with Kansas City. After leaving the military in 1946, he requested and was assigned to the IRS office in Kansas City, MO. Jim married Mary Clee Saunders in 1949. Her father was part of the “Saunders Drive it Yourself” system, preceding today’s Hertz and other car rental companies. The national depression in 1931 brought this over extended company into bankruptcy. Jim resigned from the IRS soon after his marriage, and entered the life insurance business as a salesman. He also started night school at the KC School of Law, which later became part of UMKC. He graduated from UMKC with a Juris Doctorate degree in 1953. Then came the Korean War, and he was called back to active duty, this time at the Army Finance Center in St. Louis. There he took more training at the St. Louis University Law School, adding three semesters at Northwestern University, Chicago campus. After returning to Kansas City, Jim graduated from the American College of Life Underwriters, and obtained a degree as a Chartered Life Underwriter in 1957. Along the way, Jim and Mary Clee adopted two children, Craig who lives in Brookfield, Connecticut, and Nancy who lives in Kansas City, Missouri. Jim grew up in a Methodist church, and in Grand Chain joined the Disciples of Christ Church. He was baptized in Cairo, Illinois, in the indoor pool of the First Christian Church. When he and Mary Clee came to Kansas City, they soon joined Village Presbyterian Church, on January 1, 1954. During his 50-year Village Church tenure, he had served as a Deacon, Elder and Trustee. He also ushered at the 8:00 a.m. service. He was especially challenged to be a member of the Dominican Republic task force, where he served as secretary. In 2001 Jim traveled there for two weeks of medical mission ministry. His current outreach ministry is with his church’s Pantry, gathering donated food and clothing store for low income people. In a recent year, 135 volunteers served over 10, 000 families, giving 18,000 hours to this project. 31% of the recipients were children, and 29% were elderly. He also serves in the Computer ministry at Village Church, and meets with a small group of men on Saturdays. Jim’s newest duty is with a recently organized Respite group recently organized at Village Church. He has no plans to “retire” from this servant ministry. As he says, “As long as I have the health to continue driving, I suspect, I will keep it up.” He keeps on quietly “doing his part” for God and others. You are an inspiration to all of us, Jim. Jim’s wife, Mary Clee, died in September, 1997. He moved to Aberdeen in June, 2001. Never having learned to cook, he appreciated Aberdeen’s one good solid meal a day without any effort on his part. He greatly appreciated the fellowship of the residents, and especially the Men’s Group. He helped to hold this group together through “thick and thin” attendance times. He faithfully supported the Aberdeen Weekly Bible Study, and the Sunday evening Vesper ministry. He carried on an amazingly busy schedule of lay ministry, Jim closed his life history report by using his special gift of encouragement. “Be of Good Cheer, and God’s Blessings to each of you.” Jim is survived by his children Craig and Nancy, grandchildren Jimmy and Lindsey, brother Charles and his wife Coke and their family, extended family and friends. Arrangements under the direction of Mount Moriah & Freeman Funeral Home, Kansas City, MO.
James Matthew Fellenstein
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July 2, 2014
Nancy, I was sorry to hear of your dads passing, Iremember him fondly everytime, I wear mypink uniform pants (britches). God be withyou andyour family. Sincerly Lori Markle
June 2, 2014
Our dear Jim. He was such a comfort to Steve and I when our dear Cleo and Marv passed. He would always say
"Be of Good Cheer. Rest and be of gods cheer now dear friend. We love you
April 28, 2014
Jim's son Craig and I became best friends when we met in college. Jim was a great father to his children Craig and Nancy and a wonderful husband to Mary. I always felt welcome in his home and although Craig's life and work have kept us far apart most of these years and I hadn't seen Jim since Mary passed, I know that Jim would have made me feel just as welcome today. My heart goes out to the family in this time of grief.
April 28, 2014
I am grateful for the life of Mr. Fellenstein. Thanks to his service and to the service of others in our armed forces, my family and I have been able to lead our lives in freedom and peace.
April 26, 2014
Jim was a long-time family friend. I have wonderful memories of being with their family, but the best were the camping trips that we took together. He and my dad loved camping, fishing, and the outdoors. Jim was a fun person to be around! I can still remember his laugh! And, I imagine he's smiling and laughing in heaven right now! My love to Craig and Nancy!
Marla Magill Leeper
April 24, 2014
Jim was a warm, caring, very decent gentleman. He lived his life as a Christian man, loving his family and his God and Church. He was my father-in-law for 22 years and my friend forever. I will remember his love of fly fishing, of the outdoors, wildlife and nature. He spent many years traveling with his wife, Mary Clee, in their Airstream camper seeing the beauty of America, and visiting their many friends. He was devoted to his children and his grandchildren. I was so blessed to have this man in my life.