Eulogy by Todd

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Donald George Fellars was born August 5, 1934 in Monterey Park, California to Bryan Fellars, of Chico, Texas, who was a Union Pacific Railroader, and (Henrietta) Lucille George Fellars of Wellsville, Utah.  He grew up in East Los Angeles, which was a thriving new community at the time.  His sister, Norma Jean Fellars was born when he was six years old.
Grandma reports my Dad was a happy child.  He loved to whistle and she could hear him coming home from school a block away as he whistled his favorite tunes.  He attended Eastmont Elementary School, Eastmont Junior High, and graduated from Montebello Senior High School in 1952.  His parents had a great desire for him to attend college, so he enrolled in the University of Southern California, with his good friend, Von Richardson.
Grandma was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which Dad also joined when he was young.  He was baptized by Max W. McKeon, who ended up playing an important role in his life.  At the age of 12, he was ordained a Deacon.  Dad remembers occasionally going to church alone—because he wanted to fulfill his responsibility to pass the sacrament.  Another assignment he accepted was to collect fast offerings for the poor.  Dad remembered very distinctly visiting the McKeon home, where he met his future bride.  Of course he didn’t know it at the time, as she was only 3 years old!
After two years of college Dad had a desire to serve a mission for the Church.  Since his father wasn’t a member, he didn’t see the need for Dad to interrupt his education.  Grandpa eventually gave his blessing after Dad promised to complete his education upon his return.  In 1954 Dad left East LA for the Mission Home in Utah.  Instead of the two months of intensive language training missionaries receive today, he received 5 days of instruction, a Portuguese/English dictionary, and was on his way to Brazil.  The church was new in Brazil and success hard to find.  Later in life, Dad would tell Elders going to an area of Brazil how he was the first missionary in that city which now has an entire mission!
A big change occurred while Dad was in Brazil, when my grandfather, Bryan, was baptized a member of the church by Max W. McKeon, who was then serving as Bishop.  This came as a surprise to my Father, but was joyous news.  After 2 ½ years in the mission, he returned home.  Before resuming his education, he entered the army reserves to fulfill his military service requirement.  He spent 6 months on active duty at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, and then another 6 years in the reserves.  Dad related that this was not his favorite experience because he did not like all of the yelling! Maybe that is why Dad rarely raised his voice.
He was accepted into Dental School at USC, graduating in 1962-fulfilling the promise he had made to his father.  Now he had accomplished two goals he had set for himself—a mission and college degree.  Only one goal was unfulfilled—getting married.  He began courting my mother, Mary Gail McKeon before she went away to BYU.  After one year there, Dad encouraged her to return home so they could get to know each other better.  She transferred to Whittier College, and they soon decided to be married.  Max told Don he had been saving her for him, and Mom had said many times how wise her father was!  So Max, who had baptized my Dad and his father, became his father-in-law, and the two families who had lived together and been friends in East Los Angeles became one.
Dad and Mom were sealed for “time and all eternity” in the Los Angeles Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ on June 12, 1963.  Grandma and Grandpa were sealed on that same day.  Norma later had the opportunity to join Dad and his parents in this Holy Ordinance, which made their family complete.
Mom and Dad first lived in Whittier, while Mom finished college.  Their next move was to Monterey Park, where Dad had been born.  Here Dad opened his first solo dental practice on Atlantic Blvd.  They bought a home and lived here for seven years.  Allyson joined the family in 1967, Tim in 1968, and Todd (me) in 1971.  My parents never intended to stay in the Los Angeles area to raise a family so they started looking to move.  They almost moved to Ventura, but decided instead on San Diego County to be close to Aunt Linda, my Mom’s sister, who had settled here.  With his family still in Monterrey Park, he kept his practice there working 3 days per week.  He also commuted three days per week to Carlsbad until the LA practice and house were sold and they could make the move south permanent.
They bought a home in an old avocado grove which had recently been built.  Our family has lived there on Hardell Lane since 1972—35 years! After moving to Vista, Jenny joined the family in 1973, D.Max in 1974, Danny in 1977, Donnie in 1979, and CJ in 1980.  Dad often said he always felt blessed to have a large family.  Dad’s Patriarchal Blessing says “You shall have influence with boys.”  He thought this was fulfilled in his calling as a leader of Young Men in the church.  However, when his sixth son was born, he realized the true meaning of that phrase.  He HAS had great influence with boys.  All of his sons (and his two daughters) served honorable missions for the church.  And all of his children have graduated from college—some with advanced degrees--again following his and my mom’s example.

Two years after moving, Dad joined Frank Tanner in Vista. They worked together for many years until Dad needed more space and moved his practice to an office on Vale Terrace, overlooking the Buena Vista Creek.  In 1996 he bought the building on East Vista Way where he enlarged his practice by including other dentists, the latest being my brother D.Max.  This allowed him a little more free time for church service, family, hobbies, and travel.
One of Dad’s favorite hobbies was sports. Originally, he was an LA RAMS fan, but with time, he saw the light and became a diehard Chargers fan. No team, however, was more important than his beloved USC Trojans.  Dad told me once that he was an usher at the Rose Bowl when SC played. He said he was a horrible usher as all he wanted to do was watch the game!  A sports fan to the end, one of the last conversations Dad had was with Donnie. He woke up in the hospital to see the TV had the Padres game on and asked “How’s Maddux doing”?!

The Church has been a major part of Dad’s life.  He was active as a youth, and even sacrificed playing high school ball because one of the requirements was to play with the team on Sundays in another league.  He has always accepted calls to serve—like his mission and service in three Bishoprics, the last in the position of Bishop of the Vista 10th Ward.  He has also served in various positions in Scouting, as a temple worker, a clerk, a High Counselor, and a teacher. He loved all aspects of the Gospel, especially receiving the blessings of the Temple.  It was a great tribute paid to my Dad when over 100 people from his ward attended the Temple to pray for their bishop.
Dad was blessed with many faithful friends in his life.  Some of them have traveled a great distance to be here with us today.  After their missions, while in school, they spent their time together going to dances (my Dad was a great dancer) and parties.  They lived by church standards and encouraged each other in making good choices.  They all married in the temple and have enjoyed their associations with each other through the years since their youth.  We thank them and all of you for being his friends.
Dad gained the most joy from his family.  He loved spending time together and was happiest with his kids around him. It didn’t matter what kind of activity was taking place, if the family was going, Dad was usually game. In the early nineties, Dad agreed to take some of the kids to Jack Murphy Stadium to see a U2 concert.  He was not a big fan, but was willing to go.  As they were walking into the concert, a random concertgoer stated what we already knew.  He said “That is one cool dad!”  He would always joke later that his hearing was never the same.

Preceded in death by his father and sister, Dad is survived by his mother, Lucille, his wife of 43 years-Mary, and his eight children and 10 grandchildren.
We will miss dad-his kind heart and gentle nature. His example.  We shed tears of sorrow today for his loss. However, we, as a family, are comforted by the knowledge we have of the eternal nature of the spirit and we know that we’ll be reunited with him again.

We think one of his dental assistants summed up his life appropriately:  “He was the best of men—a rare find!”


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