Daniel J. Feeley, owner and operator of filling stations and an avid golfer

Daniel J. "Dan" Feeley, a businessman and golfer, died Sunday of brain cancer at his home overlooking the 10th hole of the Hillendale Country Club in Phoenix, Baltimore Country.

He was 64.

The son of J. Carroll Feeley, an insurance broker, and Monica Kelly Feeley, a homemaker, Daniel Joseph Feeley was born in Philadelphia, where he spent his early years until moving with his family in 1958 to Charlottesville, Va.

After the death of his mother in 1960, his father married Nora "Doll" O'Donovan, and the family settled in Richmond, Va., where they lived until moving to the Sunnybrook community in Phoenix, Baltimore County.

From 1964 to 1971, he lived with his family across from the 13th hole of the Hillendale Country Club, where they were members, and where he had worked as a caddy, bartender, sandwich maker and night watchman, family members said.

An outstanding basketball player at Dulaney High School, from which he graduated in 1971, he earned all-Baltimore County honors from The Baltimore Sun and was given the nickname of "Pistol" by his fellow students.

After high school, he studied at the Essex campus of the Community College of Baltimore County while working as a bartender, waiter, car salesman and delivery truck driver.

He met his future wife, Deborah Murray "Debbie" Waters, when they both worked at the old Bobby Boyd's Hooligans in Towson. They were married in 1981.

In the late 1970s, Mr. Feeley entered the filling station business when he managed Hess stations in Fairfax, Va., and on South Hanover Street in Baltimore.

He became owner in 1981 of a Crown Central filling station at York Road and Winston Avenue in Govans.

"Initially, his application to become a dealer was declined, but he subsequently was approved after he wrote a letter to Henry A. Rosenberg Jr., CEO of Crown Central Petroleum," a son, Ryan J. Feeley of Baltimore, wrote in a biographical profile of his father.

"He grew the business with a keen business sense, savvy deals, and personal relationships," his son wrote.

During his professional life, Mr. Feeley owned and operated a total of 10 gas stations — and at his peak, owned and operated six stations at the same time. Most of the stations also included convenience stores, car washes and several Subway franchises, plus one with a freestanding Subway sandwich shop.

He owned and managed locations in Baltimore, Cockeysville, Hunt Valley, Bel Air and Pasadena, and the brands of gasoline he sold included Crown Central, Gulf, Chevron, Exxon, Amoco and BP.

"Dan was the type of young man who was always interested in other people. That's what I loved about him." said an aunt, Sister Kathleen Feeley, a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and former president of Notre Dame of Maryland University.

"For me, he was a generous, happy and interesting person who was always looking out for other people rather than himself," Sister Kathleen said.

"He cared deeply for his workers, and he wanted them to benefit from their hard work," she said. "During his lifetime, he touched so many people positively."

"I've known Dan since the 1980s, and he was a fantastic guy and a very competent business person," said Wayne Mosher, vice president of wholesale operations at Mid-Atlantic Convenience Stores, who previously worked for Amoco and BP.

"He had a personality that was contagious and had a great reputation in the business. He was respectful of people who could take him on his word. He was a giver, not a taker," he said.

"I had managed more than 200 dealerships, and he was one of my best and favorite quality dealers," Mr. Mosher said. "He was highly regarded in the industry."

Mark Krug, a fellow dealer and friend who first met Mr. Feeley in the sixth grade when they were both attending St. John the Evangelist parochial school in Hydes.

"I started out with Crown Central Petroleum before Danny, and I helped him get his first Crown Central station," Mr. Krug said. "He was an awesome entrepreneur when it came to the work. He accumulated locations, purchased property and turned some of them into lease properties."

He added: "He was wonderful with his employees and one heck of a boss."

Deepak Kayastha was working at the Exxon station at York and Warren roads at the time Mr. Feeley acquired the business.

"He had the station next to us which was a BP station at York and Scott Adams roads. He bought the station in 2002, and I was afraid that I'd lose my job because he was a new owner, but he said he'd keep all of the employees," Mr. Kayastha said.

"He watched me work and then trained and hired me to be manager of the station. I was the first Nepalese guy he got to know, and in addition to hiring me, he hired 16 other Nepalese people," he said.

"He told me he'd hire Nepalese people anytime. We respected him and he respected us, and we're going to miss him," he said. "I was an immigrant from another country, and he supported me. I loved working for him. He was my inspiration. There was never a better boss than Dan."

When Mr. Kayastha decided to go into business for himself and opened the Ashland Cafe in Cockeysville, he was aided in his efforts, he said, by a $75,000 severance package from Mr. Feeley.

"He told me, 'If you need help, you come to me,'" Mr. Kayastha said. "He'd come to the cafe all the time and was very proud of what I was doing. He was such a father figure to me. He had such a big heart."

Mr. Feeley, who was a member of the Hillendale Country Club for most of his life, had lived for the last 22 years in a home adjacent to the 10th hole.

"He was a very good golfer with a single-digit handicap," Mr Krug said. "He was also very social when it came to Hillendale, plus he had many, many friends throughout the community."

Mr. Feeley was diagnosed 21 months ago with the glioblastoma that ended his life.

"Last September, all his family and friends, wearing a 'Feeley Strong' T-shirt, joined the walk around the Inner Harbor to raise funds for brain cancer research," Sister Kathleen recalled. "Our group was the largest individual group there, and we raised a good sum of money. Dan was there, under the tent, cheering us on."

Mr. Feeley was a communicant of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, 13305 Long Green Pike, Hydes, where a memorial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

In addition to his aunt, son and adopted mother, who lives in Timonium, he is also survived two other sons, David W. Feeley of Mays Chapel and Tyler D. Feeley of Canton; a daughter, Kelly E. Feeley, of Phoenix, Baltimore County; two brothers, Michael R. Feeley of Severna Park and Sean P. Feeley of Hagerstown; six sisters, Kathryn F. Hinton, Monica F. Shanner, and Bernadette F. Poehler, all of Glen Arm, Maureen F. Lidard of Hamilton, Helen F. Tutino of Catonsville and Ann F. Swaner of Miami Shores, Fla.; and two grandsons.

frasmussen@baltsun.com

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