A Tribute To My Father Jack Feld
Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
Every year the Feld men get together somewhere and talk about life. I have two sons, Brad and Daniel and my brother has two sons, Jon and Kenny.
All four are leaders.
My brother and I are very close. I came to Dallas in 1969. My brother and his wife followed one year later. Charlie was working at IBM’s corporate headquarters working up the corporate ladder. He requested a transfer to Dallas so our families could be together.
The first two boys are one year apart with Brad being the oldest. Daniel and Kenny followed three years later and are also one year apart.
This year we are going to have a personal chautauqua at the Aspen Institute. It will be a two day session where all six of us will have two one hour talks. The goal is to try to teach each other something.
There are no agenda and no published topics.
“Chautauqua ( /ʃəˈtɔːkwəu/ shə-TAW-kwə) was an adult education movement in the United States Lectures were the mainstay of the chautauqua. The reform speech and the inspirational talk were the two main types of lecture until 1913. Later topics included current events, travel and stories, often with a comedic twist.”
The mission is to try to understand each others perception of the issues of the day, discuss present life experiences and our hopes for the future.
It is simply a bonding experience.
I am dedicating the Feld Men’s Group to my dad, Jack Feld.
My dad was never short of having opinions nor afraid to express them
He was a very intelligent man who was serious, pragmatic and passionate about his work and his ideas.
He was a victim of the depression as well as tragedies during the depression. His family was very rich prior the depression.
In fact he had a driver driving him to school every day. During the depression he parents got sick and died.
At 16 years old he had to leave Dewitt Clinton High School in the Bronx his junior year and go to work to support his three young sisters. He started sweeping the floor in a small factory in downtown New York City. He ended up owning a very large factory in both New York City and Miami.
Jack Feld was a self taught man. He always had big ideas and was never afraid to express them or take risks. He had an uncanny ability to see around corners and recognize the next big thing.
At 78 years old he bought out a company that had washing machines that stone washed jeans before stone washed jeans were fashionable.
Sometimes his timing was off but that never deterred him. He would say , “All you have to do is hang around long enough and the world will catch up to you.”
Most of the time his timing was impeccable. He had a brilliant mathematical mind. He could figure out a price for an item and give a good deal to the buyer in seconds as well as figure his sizable net profit.
He was passionate about everything in a very quiet way. One of his passions was buying new automobiles.
In 1935 he bought a Model T Ford for $320 dollars. He and my mother drove it for 11 years. He sold it through the classified section of the New York Post for $395 in 1946.
I was in third grade and I understood that $395 was greater than $320 arithmetic I did not know anything about inflation.
I asked my father why that guy would spend more for that 11 year old piece of junk than he paid for it new.
He said inflation. He explained how FDR devalued the dollar. He said World War II inflated prices even further. In retrospect it was a pretty good concept for an 8 year old to understand.
He then bought a 1946 Ford with a jump seat with the money he got for his 1936 Ford plus some.
One of the more attractive 1946 Ford models was the Super DeLuxe coupe sedan (also sometimes called the sedan coupe).
My father kept that car until Ford remodeled their cars in 1949. He traded it in for a 1949 dark red Ford convertible. Red was the only color the convertible came in.
The You Tube describes the automotive revolution. My father spotted the revolution the moment Ford started delivering the new cars to the dealerships.
He kept the 1949 Ford convertible for 2 years.
Our family vacationed every year for two weeks in a hotel in the Catskill Mountains.
My father was bored after the first day of vacation. He had no work.
Everyday he went off to the dealerships in Monticello and Newburg New York. His excuse was to take a spin in his convertible. He also was dealing for a new car.
My mother said that it was really his way of going fishing.
In 1951 he caught a fish. He traded in the 1949 Ford convertible for a 1951 Ford convertible. The trade cost him $200.
In 1953 he snagged an incredible looking 1953 Mercury. The red was a “cherry” red.
The trade in price was always favorable, if you knew how to negotiate. My father was great at negotiating.
He had some problems with his 1953 Merc’s universal joint. In the summer of 1955 while on vacation he traded it in for a 1955 Mercury convertible.
My dad had a knack for picking the classic cars of the future.
He was now on a roll. He had his dealerships all lined up. The next car he drove back to the hotel was a 1957 black Mercury convertible. I took a coupe of pictures of those cars then.
I was 19 years old and a junior at Columbia College at the time. This car got a WOW from me. It also got a WOW from the girls I dated.
My dad figured it was time for a change in 1959 with a son graduating from Columbia College and going to medical school.
He stepped it up a notch. He bought a baby blue (Columbia Colors) 1959 Pontiac Bonneville convertible with gigantic fins. The Mercury’s fins were nothing compared to the Bonneville’s fins.
He picked another classic car.
This is my lucky car. I drove this car on my first date with my wife Cecelia. The first date started us on a magnificent journey of knowing each other for 53 years and 49 years of marriage.
I did not know what my dad liked better the Mercury or the Mercury dealership but in 1961 he bought this black Mercury convertible.
I could go on and on. I present these cars as an example of my dad’s eye for spotting future classics. These perceptions applied to many areas of his life and work.
Some of his perceptions have rubbed off on my brother and me.
We now know that some of our perceptions have rubbed off on our sons. We are very proud of them.
As The Feld men are about to embark on the Annual Feld Men’s Trip I had the urge to reminisce about my dad. He meant a lot to all of us.
It reminds me how important it is to bond with your kids and your parents.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone
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twitter.com/bfeld • August 16, 2012
Dad – this is a beautiful post. I miss Jack a lot – whenever I think of him I realize what a huge impact he’s had on my life. I wonder if the car thing has translated as well – I never really thought about it but maybe it did.
Can’t wait to see you in Aspen in a week.
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