Longtime educator and onetime World War II prisoner of war Melvin Feuer, father of Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, died today in Los Angeles at the age of 92, his son announced.
The elder Feuer, who was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 20, 1923, saw his life take a dramatic turn after he enlisted with the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 to fight the Nazis during World War II, spurred by the atrocities of the Holocaust.
Feuer, who was a ball turret gunner on a B-24 bomber, was shot down and imprisoned for a year by the Nazis in a German wartime prisoner camp. During that time, he played the violin in a ragtag orchestra and jazz band to help raise camp morale.
Feuer and other prisoners were eventually liberated by American troops following a grueling march through Austria, and was awarded several medals, including the Air Medal, which is recognizable by its three clusters of oak leaves.
Following the war, Feuer dedicated his life to education, serving for 36 years as a school teacher and elementary school principal in San Bernardino, where he led one of the first bilingual schools in California, according to his son. He later also taught aspiring teachers in the California State University system.
Feuer eventually moved to Los Angeles to spend more time with grandchildren, and also volunteered at the Maple Counseling Center, which offers counseling services to young people.
Feuer’s family said he loved sports, especially the Cleveland Indians, his hometown team, and UCLA athletics.
Feuer is survived by his wife of nearly 64 years, Stella; sons Mike, Bob and Steven; grandchildren Danielle and Aaron; and a brother, Richard.
Funeral services are set for Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Hillside Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Maple Counseling Center in his name.