A master woodcarver and builder, Harry Feucht (pronounced “Foyt”) was considered a Geppetto of his time and a genius in the medium of wood.
He was a regular sight at the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar for many, many years representing the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association.
Harry wasn’t hard to spot at these functions. He was the articulate and animated fellow always explaining to his audience why wood is such a magic medium.
He could comfortably engage children about wooden toys or discuss the sophisticated planking process of a Peapod rowboat with adults. He never tired of sharing the magic of wood with those who would listen.
A proud craftsman and loving family man, Harry Feucht passed away peacefully on Feb. 1, surrounded by his family. He was 88.
Harry was born Aug. 20, 1923 in Buffalo, New York, to Harry and Louise Feucht. His father was an athletic coach and life-long educator. Harry was the second of three children.
Following his graduation from high school in 1942, Harry enrolled in the Industrial Education program at Buffalo State Teachers College. He entered the Navy several months later and was eventually based in San Francisco. He operated in the South Pacific Theatre during World War II.
After the war, Harry returned to Buffalo and "Buf State" to complete his Industrial Arts degree. He graduated in 1948 and spent the next six years building houses.
A life-long woodworker, Harry thrived in that element as a young boy under his father’s direction, and continued as an active member of local woodworker groups in San Francisco and San Diego throughout his life.
He and his young family moved to California in 1955 to begin his teaching career. Throughout this period Harry remained active in crafting projects as small as a child’s wooden toy to full-sized houses. Harry taught wood shop for more than 30 years in Castro Valley. He retired in 1983, but remained busy on multiple projects involving his love of all things wood until his final days.
Harry was very knowledgeable about wood and its history. His knowledge of the material and sensitive touch guided his hands and eyes as he created products from the practical to the artistic, in all sizes and designs.
He once said, “Every piece of wood is different. It feels differently, it smells differently, and often what you do with that piece of wood is influenced strongly by the strength and grain of what you’re working with. Wood is alive.”
Harry was also was a member of the National Guard Medical Services Corps, retiring in 1983 at the rank of Major. He moved his family to Coronado in 1985, where they remain.
Harry joined the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association (SDFWA) in 1985, and began another long phase as an avid hobbyist and part-time professional woodworker building furniture; doing remodeling and restoration work, and creating wooden toys, games, puzzles, and child-size furniture for youngsters and medical facilities.
He especially enjoyed his long association with the craftsmen in the San Diego area through personal friendships and the SDFWA. Harry was very proud of his long time efforts to organize and support the annual Design in Wood Exhibition at the county fair, since it visually showcased the fine craftsmanship of locals and others across the country.
Harry is survived by his former wife Jackie Donlyn Feucht of Coronado; sisters Barbara Randell of Indiana and Jean Lindburg of Florida; two sons, Harry VanEvery of Virginia and Ron Feucht of San Diego, and daughter Cheryl Woodhouse of Coronado.
He is also survived by four grandchildren, Ian Coutts, Christopher VanEvery, and Nolan and Avery Woodhouse.
Harry Feucht will be buried at sea with full military honors at a private gathering. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in his name to KPBS Public Broadcasting, 5200 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182.
This obituary was created by Joe Ditler and LivingObituary.com.