John J. Feller
John J. Feller, 73, of West Plains, Missouri, passed away November 30, 2020 in Memphis, Tennessee from complications from a subdural hematoma.
John was born to Joe and Genevieve Stroven Bennett Feller, May 22, 1947 in Fremont, Michigan. In 1956 the Feller family moved to Mesa, Arizona where they built a home in the desert west of the Superstition Mountains. In 1964 the family moved to a farm near South Fork, south of West Plains, Missouri. John graduated from West Plains High School, Class of 1966. He married Beverly Poe, his high school sweetheart, January 26, 1968, at St. Mary’s Church in West Plains. He joined the Air Force and the couple moved to Dover Delaware where he worked as an Engineering Entomology Specialist and achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant.
After John was honorably discharged from the military, he moved his family, which included sons Mitch and Steve, back to West Plains where they lived on their farm near South Fork. They raised horses, pigs, and cattle for several years. John established Feller Pest Control shortly after returning from the Military, which served the West Plains area. To help build his business, John began taking college courses in landscaping, horticulture, and business management at the West Plains Residence Center (now MSU) where he graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in 1977. During his studies, John developed a renewed interest in the construction industry. While in high school John had learned the trade while working with his father, and assisted in building several houses in the West Plains area. In 1977 John established Feller Construction with a single employee. Always a designer, planner, and creator, John was able to use his expertise to develop many residential and commercial building projects in the West Plains area. Through his leadership, Feller Construction would eventually grow to include dozens of employees that successfully completed many major projects in the area.
In 1988 John moved Feller Construction to 829 E. Main Street and opened a cabinet shop, Cabinets Plus, as a branch of his construction company. In 1990 he purchased the building and surrounding property and began expanding. In 2018 John retired from Feller Construction Incorporated. While running Feller Construction, John developed a close connection with the community. Early on, John was an active member of the The United States Junior Chamber of Commerce, also known as the Jaycees. During this time the Jaycees brought professional rodeos to the Howell County fairgrounds. And as part of their community fundraising efforts the Jaycees hosted haunted houses at various sites around downtown, such as on the Square and by the train tracks. John was a founding member of the Southern Missouri Home Builders Association, where he served for a period of time as President. He was instrumental in organizing the effort to build the Ozark Heritage Welcome Center while serving in this role. With John’s contribution the Home Builders supported many projects in the community including starting the West Plains Home and Garden Show, assisting Habitat for Humanity, building the Galloway Creek Nature Park Bridge and many more. John’s favorite hobby was rebuilding antique cars, with his first project in high school being a 1949 Dodge. In 1988 he restored a 1966 Mustang coupe, teaching his children auto mechanics in the process. Several other automotive projects followed, including a 1927 Model T Huckster Street Rod and a 1965 Mustang Convertible. John was a member of the West Plains Car Club and also served as President for a period of time. He regularly participated in their car shows and other events for many years. John was in the middle of a Model A Roadster build when he passed. John was constantly creating and designing new projects including award winning floats for the West Plains Christmas parade. These floats included a life size simulated steam train complete with real smoke, and a Snoopy and the Red Baron Biplane. When he had grandkids, he enjoyed building one-of-a-kind projects such as a working, child-sized excavator, and airplane swings. John also built a three story treehouse with electricity, just like he had as a kid in Arizona.
John is preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Genevieve Feller; Bev’s parents, Jack and Peggy Poe; his brother, Gary Wayne Bennett and brother-in-law James Lynn Murrell.
John is survived by his wife Bev of 52 years; son Mitch (Candace) and grandchildren Ford and Margaret Feller of Dallas, Texas; son Steve (Jana) and grandsons John S. and Jacob of Durham, North Carolina; brothers, Mike Feller (Dianna) of West Plains, Missouri ; Paul Feller (Patty) of Cabot, Arkansas; sisters Jeanne Murrell of Willow Springs, Missouri; Mary Berner (Randy) of Mtn. View, Missouri; Patty Ford (Jack) of Springfield, Missouri; Nicole Layden, Mtn. View, Missouri, and sister-in-law, Mary Bennett, Tempe Arizona. He is also survived by his brother-and sister-in-law, Glen and Karen Poe of Lenexa, Kansas. John also leaves many special nephews, nieces, cousins and lifelong friends.
In the near future the Feller Family will have an event with friends and family to celebrate John’s life.
In lieu of flowers the Feller family asks that any donations be provided to the Homeland Cemetery and may be left at or mailed to Robertson-Drago Funeral Home, 211 W Main St, West Plains, MO 65775. Alternatively donations can be provided to any charity of choice in memory of John Feller.