A tribute to Herk Felder (1951-2016)

Herk FelderThe EAS family has lost one of their own: Hercules Felder passed away this month, too soon; he was 64. We’ve all been stunned by this news. Herk was a pillar of the organization, a pioneer and, true to his first name, a force of nature. Herk had been with EAS for 35 years, serving as EAS’ first African-American president in 1994 and continued to actively support EAS even after retiring from a successful career in NJ and moving to South Carolina in 2015.

For those who knew Herk, these words from his close friend Bruce McPherson will ring true:

One of the things it took a little while to realize about Herk was that he had wings.  I know, he got a brand new set when he entered the pearly gates last week, but as a plain ol’ mortal he had wings.   He took everyone/anyone under his great big wings.  He could mentor and guide, console and educate the way very few could.  One of his special talents; no, not a talent, a gift.

Another gift he had was not a book-learning thing but something very special.  He had soul.  Not the “soul man” kinda soul, but a deeply set soul that you could almost see and feel oozing out of him every time he spoke or interacted with people.  Simply amazing, and I got to experience it on almost all levels, very often.

Another Herk hallmark were his shoes.  No, not penny loafers or wingtips, but SHOES.  His shoes were tailor made for him and nobody, NOBODY, could ever fill his shoes.  I know I tried many times through the years, doing an EAS committee job after following Herk who always outshined everyone in the way he got the jobs done.  His SHOES were always shined and never to be filled.  I simply could not attempt to fill those big things, nor could any other committee member.

And, finally, I have to mention his heart.  Good God, he had a heart.  His heart was always open to anyone/everyone.  Words cannot express his feelings for people in general.  He loved everyone with all his heart and I know everyone loved him right back.

I, like others on the EAS board, will miss seeing Herk at EAS functions and talking to him and laughing with him. His memory will live on forever in our hearts.

Anne-Françoise Aubry