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Obituary of Stanley Dean Fejta

Stanley Fejta
Submitted to The Union

Stanley Dean Fejta died on February 28, 2019 at the age of 94, peacefully and surrounded by four generations of his family.

Stan was born on November 11, 1924 in Red Oak, Iowa. He was the fourth of seven children to parents who immigrated from Czechoslovakia. At the age of 17 he joined the U.S. Marine Corps to fight in the Second World War. He was sent to the front line of battle in the Pacific for the taking of the island of Tarawa in 1943 and later arrived in Nagasaki three days after the atomic bomb. After the war he worked at Marshall Fields Department Store in Chicago, where he met his fellow employee and future wife, Helen. They were married on December 21, 1946.

The years to come proved Stan to be an entrepreneur and Helen his perfect partner. After working as a surveyor in Wyoming and California, Stan served as a general contractor for 15 years for Aerojet Engineering Corporation. In the early days of space exploration, he built the world’s largest rocket launcher in the Florida Everglade swamplands. In 1965 he and Helen moved to New Orleans and founded Fejta Construction Company. He built apartment buildings, hotels, and skyscrapers, including the 17-story tower now known as the Troubadour Hotel—the first mixed use high-rise building in downtown New Orleans—and the Downtowner Hotel in the heart of the French Quarter. Helen and Stan traveled the world together. He raised birds as a hobby at a Mississippi farm they visited each weekend and spent time with his grandchildren.

Helen and Stan promised each other that one day they’d return to Northern California where they had lived happily in their early marriage. In 1989 they did just that, purchasing 56 acres of raw land in Penn Valley, a place they considered paradise. Stan and Helen developed the property into a sanctuary for wildlife, founding the Indian Springs Wildlife Trust. Always community minded, Stan and Helen supported local schools with scholarships, funded new lights at the softball diamond for night games and offered tours of their property for schoolchildren to learn about rare birds and preservation of the environment. Stan gave lectures on financial education at Bear River High School and facilitated the planting of hundreds of daffodils throughout Penn Valley.

Stan is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 72 years, Helen Licina Fejta. He is also survived by two children, six grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. He was loved by countless others. A private family gathering was held in Penn Valley in early March. In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Stan may be sent to NEO Youth Center, P.O. Box 941, Grass Valley, CA 95945.

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