Obituary of John F. Felts
John Francis Felts, 77, of Wynantskill embarked on his final journey with the sun in his face and the wind at his back on Saturday, September 16, 2023, in the company of the love of his life, Kathryn “Kash” Fil-Felts, family and friends.
Born in Albany, John was the son of the late Paul “Skip” and Doris Anne Francis Baird Felts. He was raised on Second Avenue in Rensselaer where he met so many lifelong neighbors and friends like Eddie, Freddie, AJ, and George (the list could go on for days).
John served in the US Navy from 1965 to 1969 during the Vietnam War on the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk. He was Honorably Discharged and awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation with 1 Bronze Star, Vietnam Service Medal with 6 Bronze Stars, Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Devise.
Over the years, John (“Duke”, as they called him) worked for several agencies of New York State, with his final years at the Department of Transportation at the Rensselaer shop, retiring in 2008.
An avid motorcycle rider, you’d always catch him making a zip around the block every January first, no matter what the weather.
He was a former member of the Ukrainian Cultural Center of Watervliet where he could be found bartending on weekends.
“Feltsy” got his love for baseball from his father. He enjoyed attending the TriCity Valleycats play at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium with Kash, Bruce and Tara Plekan, where he’d rate the singer of the Star Spangled banner with several special season pass holders. When he couldn’t make a game, it wasn’t unusual to hear him yelling at the TV while rooting for “anyone but the Yankees.”
His favorite times were with his neighbors, friends, and family. He had a special relationship with everyone that he knew, young and old, and you could feel it. John always kept an eye out for trouble and was always imparting his special brand of wisdom to those around him. Whether it be “watch your 6’s”, “choose wisely”, or “alway straight ahead and forward, because you’ve already passed what’s in the rear view mirror.” He was always the first to offer a helping hand, no questions asked or expected favor in return.
John was an old soul, a true gentleman and a man of his word. He always said his “grandmother taught him how to be a gentleman” while the United States Navy “taught him when to be and when not to be a gentle man.” He was braver and stronger than most with a will to live like no other. His grandmother and the Navy did an exemplary job and they broke the mold after him.
John, “Sailor” to his wife, was the beloved husband of Kash and devoted step-father of Larissa Tapler (EJ) of Colonie, father to Andrea Brown, Yolanda Frame, John Jr. Felts (Melissa) of Florida and Jessica Bower (David) of Hawaii. He is survived by eight grandchildren, one great grandson and a God son, as well as his brother, Paul Felts (Albertine). He was recently predeceased by his cousin, Dawn Clay.
He had a special bond with his brother-in-law, Michael “Meeshu” Fil, sister-in-law Jen, and nephews Michael (Rachel) and Benjamin (Katherine), and their five children. Cousin Bruce (Tara) and son, Jerrod, had a special place in John’s heart. He also had the privilege of watching Daniel Kilcullen and Sophia Thorbecke grow up. John is survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He had also been blessed with his own Guardian Angel, Sarah Klem, an amazing niece and fantastic nurse.
John’s family wishes to express their most sincere appreciation to all the people who held our hands and provided support, kind words, guidance, strength and love when we needed it most.
Incredible gratitude and a huge THANK YOU to all friends and co-workers of the Wells Communications/Bearcom family, there are no words.
Our most gracious thanks to the North Greenbush Ambulance Squad, Police Department, and Rensselaer County friends and superheroes who aren’t always in the comics, that helped us over the years – we couldn’t have done this without you.
To the keeper and caretakers of Oakwood Cemetery and Crematorium, your kindness and courtesy during this difficult time was so appreciated.
In keeping with John’s wishes, he will be laid to rest in Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery, 200 Duell Rd, Schuylerville, NY 12871 in a private ceremony. Honors will be provided by the U.S. Navy, Saratoga National Cemetery Honor Guard Association and the Patriot Guard Riders.
Those wishing may make memorial contributions to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-9959, in memory of John F. Felts.
Special thanks to Michael, Adam and the staff of the John J. Sanvidge Funeral Home, Inc. for your incredible guidance at this time.
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In Loving Memory
1946 - 2023
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