Skip to main content

In Memoriam: Walter C. Fellows ’78

Walter C. Fellows was born in New York City, New York, on March 7, 1956, to the late Henry D. Fellows Sr. and Mary S. Fellows. He grew up in Eastchester, New York, with his brothers, Hank and Bill, and his sister, Cathy. Walter was an excellent athlete at Eastchester High School, and he was a top runner on the EHS cross country team. He was active in the Boy Scouts of America, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout in June, 1972. He also played the piano and trumpet. Walter graduated from Eastchester High School in 1974.

Walter attended college at Bucknell University and graduated with a B.S. degree in biology in 1978. He later obtained a Masters in Business Administration degree from Columbia University in 1981. Walter then embarked on a successful business career in the airline industry and the advertising industry. He enjoyed traveling throughout the world, having grown up in an airline family. He particularly enjoyed trips to countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa, including Nepal and the Mt. Everest Base Camp. He spent more than a year living in Japan and became proficient in reading and speaking Japanese.

Unfortunately, Walter was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) shortly after his 30th birthday in March, 1986. The disease became primary-progressive MS, which is the most damaging MS to a person’s spinal cord and the myelin sheath surrounding the spinal cord. Notwithstanding his diagnosis and the effect that the MS had on his body, Walter continued to run races, and he finished the 1988 New York City Marathon. Over time, Walter’s MS adversely affected his health and his ability to continue working. Nevertheless, he continued to manage investments and his finances.

Notwithstanding Walter’s illness, he maintained a great sense of humor, and he was an eternal optimist. He enjoyed recounting with his mother, Mary, and his siblings, Hank, Bill, and Cathy humorous events from family gatherings and from family trips throughout the country and the world. Walter’s sense of humor, positive mindset, and never-give-up attitude, while in extreme pain from his MS, were an inspiration to everyone in our family.

Our family members rallied around Walter and his illness by actively creating and participating in National MS Society Annual Walks. Walter’s sister, Cathy Jaquette, created a team in Reston, Virginia. Cathy, her husband, Scott, and their sons have walked in the Annual Walk for many years. Walter’s niece, Susie Fellows Tulloch, similarly created a team in Atlanta, Georgia. She, her husband, Ross, Hank and Pam Fellows, and Chris and Kathryn Fellows have participated in the Annual Walk and contributed financially to the team.

Over the years, Walter’s brother, Bill, was particularly supportive of Walter, spending many hours on the telephone with Walter as he navigated through his medical and physical challenges. Walter’s sister, Cathy, also spent considerable time helping Walter manage his illness.

Walter was a beloved and wonderful uncle to seven nephews and two nieces and to grand-nephews and grand-nieces. He was a close confidant with his oldest niece, Susie, and his nephew, Thomas. They very much appreciated Walter’s wise advice, counsel, and willingness to listen to them over the years. Walter also had a close relationship with his nephew, Chris, who visited Walter frequently when Walter spent several years at an assisted living facility in Atlanta, Georgia.

Last year, Walter was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He insisted on battling the pancreatic cancer and progressive MS simultaneously, never giving in and never giving up. On March 7, 2021, Walter celebrated his 65th birthday with his mother, Mary, present and with other family members celebrating remotely with him due to COVID-19. All of his family members are proud of Walter for his perseverance, determination, and will power to reach this milestone.

Earlier this year, Walter and his brother, Hank, made a joint gift to Bucknell University for a conference room in a new building on the University campus which will be completed in the summer of 2021. The conference room will be named for Hank and Walter as graduates of Bucknell University. Walter was very pleased that he will be remembered by the University in this manner.

During April, 2021, Walter underwent a complex pancreatic surgery. While he survived the surgery, the complications following the surgery due to his progressive MS and pancreatic cancer proved to be too much for his body to withstand any longer. He passed away early in the morning on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Having grown up in an airline family and having worked for Pan American Airways and American Airlines himself, we salute Walter with the phrase, “Sequence Failed Continuity” as of April 14, 2021. Those who have worked in the airline industry will understand the meaning of this phrase.

Our family will greatly miss Walter’s compassion, dignity in the face of adversity, kindness to others, sense of humor, and his special role as advisor to other family members.

God Bless you, Walter.

Leave a Reply