February 28, 2000

Today we come to honor and give thanks for the life of Andy Feintuch, a special man who earned a special place in the hearts of all of us in Hasbrouck Heights.

To Max Feintuch and members of Andy’s family, we know there is nothing we can say or do that can ease the loss of your son, brother and uncle. We can only hope that you find comfort in the love, respect and honor that surrounds you here today.

Andy was truly a pioneer in his field. There was no such thing as recreation in 1972 when Andy was hired. He invented Recreation as a municipal government department and set a fine example of what a recreation director could be and by example, should be. Before Andy came to Hasbrouck Heights there was no recreational activities for adults and seniors and there was only baseball and football for boys. I can say this with great authority because I was there; as I had just graduated from grammar school the year Andy was hired.

Andy hit the ground running and never looked back. Soon we were awash in the programs he created: among them, wrestling, tennis, arts and crafts, ballet, cheering, girls softball and basketball, of course, the summer program and numerous adult programs such as self defense(one of the many programs I participated in) and Senior Olympics just to name a few. 

Andy could have been content with just directing his programs but he wasn’t, he became very active and involved in the community. He served as the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association president for several years, served as chairman of the Hasbrouck Heights Anti Drug Council, he was active as a committee member of the Steven Bizik Memorial Golf Tournament Committee, was a member of various scholarship committees and served as Master of Ceremonies of many dinners and civic functions.

Andy’s office was always a buzz of activity. On my almost daily visits to Boro Hall, you could hear his voice permeate throughout the building. I always made it a point to stop and see Andy to inquire about his programs and his well being. There was usually a curious parent, a wide eyed youngster eager to register in one of his programs or one of his assistants busily working on the computer. In turn I was always masterfully cross examined about non recreational issues such as the budget or personnel. It was his nature to be inquisitive and to disseminate information to others which I of course took in stride.-THAT WAS ANDY!

Andy was always open to new ideas. In my own experience, I had an idea for a Halloween Hayride at Woodland Park. I approached him with much trepidation and thought, no way would he consider this, it’s new and quite a large undertaking. He pondered it and within a few days we sat down and a he laid it out to me from start to finish. The result was Halloween in the Park, a huge success with over 500 children participating.

Andy truly loved the residents of Hasbrouck Heights. He was honored by the Mayor and Council in 1998 for 25 years of service, we declared the day in Hasbrouck Heights as "Andy Feintuch Day". I must say, he was truly honored and humbled and almost to tears, he told me that was one of the nicest things anyone could have done for him. In his almost 30 years of service as our only Recreation Director, he touched the lives of tens of thousands of people from preschoolers to senior citizens and made their lives better and richer through the programs he created and nurtured.

He adopted the municipal employees and officials as his extended family and we adopted him. I consider the borough employees to be a close knit and dedicated group of people that care a lot for each other and for Hasbrouck Heights. Andy would call them after hours to chat (and sometimes with a little gossip),arrange for holiday parties and special occasions and otherwise just be involved in many aspects of their working days. In turn, they were always there to support him with their friendship or to help out with his many programs. All of us were concerned in later years when he got sick. Of course, Andy always received cards and flowers but there was more than this, there was a genuine love and caring such as that between family members. Many employees including myself and members of the council made it a point to call him and visit him in the hospital on many occasions to cheer him up. When Andy was sick, Mike Kronyak would be in constant touch with him to discuss in Andy’s order, the continuance of his recreation programs and then his health.

More recently, the municipal employees were pushed to the limit with the loss of their Borough Hall. They all pulled together and still managed to have their holiday party in which Andy arranged. I sat with him most of the night and I told him to please be patient with the temporary inconvenience and he promised me he would not complain about any thing for three months. The very next morning he called frantically to tell me he did not have a computer yet. I said to him what about the three month period. He replied he would start the three month period the first of the year! THAT WAS ANDY!

When the Lord calls, golfers would like to die on the golf course and sailors at sea, in Andy’s case, there is no doubt that he would have wanted to be no where else on earth than at one of his wrestling tournaments in Hasbrouck Heights. I’m sure he passed away a happy man!

I’d like to close my remarks by expressing a hope and prayer to his family, his friends, the Boro government and for all the people in whose lives he touched. My hope and prayer is that all of us must work to pursue Andy’s legacy, and to persevere in the quest to sustain and strengthen the Recreation Department that he loved and nurtured like a father to a child. To his family, my hope is that your pain is relieved by the grace of God. And to Andy, we leave you in God’s hands and say thank you from all of us. May God bless and cherish Andy Feintuch as he blessed our lives and our Borough of Hasbrouck Heights for our time with him.

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