The life of Jack T. Feldman should be a lesson in courage for us all.
Mr. Feldman, who died at age 67 on Sept. 7, settled in Bel Air in 1976 after receiving his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. Originally from Newark, N.J., he grew up in Queens, N.Y., and Riverside, N.J., according to his obituary published in Wednesday’s issue. He studied at American and Duke universities prior to attending law school.
Mr. Feldman arrived in Harford County, recently married, to become an assistant prosecutor in the county State’s Attorney’s Office. Two years later, however, he was seriously injured when hit by a vehicle while walking near the Circuit Courthouse in downtown Bel Air. He suffered head and other injuries and it was uncertain he would recover.
“But Jack was not willing to accept that,” his family wrote in his obituary. After going through extensive rehabilitation, he was able to live on his own and continue his identity as a lawyer.
In overcoming his injuries, Mr. Feldman had to learn to speak and walk again, but in the years that followed, he never complained about the physical handicaps the accident caused him.
And the accident never affected his sharp mind. Over the years, he provided many wry and incisive commentaries on life in Harford County to The Aegis Open Forum section, on subjects ranging from politics, to the law, to services for handicapped citizens. He was brief, to the point and usually spot-on with his thoughts.
An unabashed Democrat in a county that became more and more red during his years living here, Mr. Feldman ran for the Bel Air area seat on the County Council in 2010 when it appeared his party would not field a candidate. He squared off against incumbent Councilman Jim McMahan in the general election, receiving 25 percent of the vote to McMahan’s 75 percent.
"I greatly respect Jack and his desire to stand up for his party so his party would be represented in the election," McMahan said after the votes were counted on Election Night.
Mr. Feldman’s next to the last letter to The Aegis was published on March 11, 2011, which coincided our last edition produced in our longtime home on Hays Street in Bel Air:
“This letter is totally about Harford County. My handicap prevents me from being a candidate for political office again. I will be employed again this summer in Bel Air as a lawyer.
“OK. Some Harford County issues. 1. Energy: When will Harford County government get electric cars, hybrid cars, cars that run on gasoline only partially? Gasoline will keep going up in price.
“2. Education: Changes are needed. If 10 years ago, you signed up for a pension of X amount, and the State of Maryland and Harford County does not have any money, what then?
“3. Technology: The State of Maryland and Harford County have excellent rehabilitation services. In Maryland, they have an excellent computer division which taught me about track ball mouses which opened up the world of computers to me.
“4. Transportation: It is way past time for road changes on Route 22 (Churchville Road). Make left turns unlawful and turnabout right-hand turns only. New Jersey does it.
“5. Four-Year College: Harford County needs a four-year college. Carroll County and Baltimore County have them. What does the agreement between Harford County Junior College and Towson University, say?
“I am a conservative Democrat. I have changed. It is important to blend in sometimes. Thank you Aegis. Good luck in your new home.”
His final letter was published on April 29, 2011, and in it Mr. Feldman had a lot to say about State’s Attorney Joseph Cassilly, who joined the State’s Attorney’s Office around the same time Mr. Feldman was working there prior to his accident.
“Being handicapped is like being Jewish. It means many things for different people,” Mr. Feldman wrote. “I have real difficulty walking in the snow and ice, so working in the winter is very difficult for me. I give loads of credit to Joe Cassilly, who is a very good administrator and a fine trial lawyer. Whatever job he seeks, he deserves. He is an outstanding American…
“That is odd. A Democrat supporting a Republican. Well folks, that is called honesty.”
A memorial service for Mr. Feldman will be held Saturday at Temple Adas Shalom in Havre de Grace beginning at 11 a.m. Rest in peace, Friend.