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In Honor of Former Embry-Riddle Provost and Executive Vice President
The President’s Office is saddened to announce the death of Capt. John Anthony “Jack” Fidel, a former Embry-Riddle Provost and Executive Vice President. The official obituary follows below and includes information on how to donate to the John A. Fidel Aviation Scholarship Endowment at Embry-Riddle.
Capt. John Anthony Fidel, USN (Ret.) passed away Sept. 26, 2008, in Concord, North Carolina. A Memorial Service will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church on Saturday, Oct. 18, at 11 a.m. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery.
Mr. Fidel was born Dec. 5, 1916, in Telluride, Colorado, to Anne Bagley Allen Fidel, formerly of Petersburg, Virginia, and Anthony George Fidel of Boulder, Colorado. The family moved to Casper, Wyoming, where he spent his formative years and where he and his brother, Allen, were the Junior and Senior State tennis champions, respectively. He was appointed to the Naval Academy in 1935, where he graduated with the Class of 1939. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma based in Hawaii. He was detached from the Oklahoma in May 1940, and reported to the destroyer USS Somers as Gunnery Officer. In 1942, he received orders for flight training, which he completed in Pensacola, and was designated a Naval Aviator. During WWII he served as Executive Officer of Torpedo Squadron 80 on the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga, and as Commanding Officer of VT-11 on the carrier USS Hornet. Following WWII, he served as Executive Officer of the carrier USS Randolph, and Commanding Officer of the USS Cimarron, as well as Commanding Officer of the carrier USS Valley Forge.
Shore duty assignments included Operations Officer of the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, and duty in Washington, D.C., with the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air), the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Executive Office of the Secretary of the Navy. He also attended the Naval War College (Advanced Course); U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College (Senior Course); and the Institute of Languages (Italian). His last duty prior to retirement was as the Commanding Officer, Naval Support Activity, Naples, Italy, where he received the Ambassador’s Award from the U.S. Ambassador for directing the most outstanding Italian-American community relations program of any U.S. activity in Italy, as well as the Navy Legion of Merit for maintaining an exceptional degree of understanding and cooperation between Italian officials and the American community. Other decorations and medals awarded during his Navy career included two Distinguished Flying Crosses, Air Medal, Presidential Unit Citation with Gold Star, American Defense Service Medal with Star, Atlantic and Pacific Theater with Four Stars, European-African Middle Eastern Theater, American Theater Ribbon, WWII Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with Two Stars, and Philippine Legion of Merit.
On retirement from the Navy, he embarked on his second career at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, where he initially served as the Dean of the College of Aviation Technology, then as Provost and Executive Vice President. The John A. Fidel Aviation Scholarship Endowment was established in honor of his leadership, friendship, and dedication to higher education in aviation by the Board of Visitors and the many friends of Jack Fidel, including Austin Kiplinger, among the original sponsors. Jack retired for the second time in 1986, although he continued to serve on the University’s Board of Visitors.
He was very active in civic affairs while in Daytona Beach, serving as President of the Daytona Beach Chapter of the Navy League; Board of Directors of the Rotary Club; Board of Directors of the American Red Cross; Board of Directors of the Economic Development Committee; a Director of the Coastal Education Broadcasters Inc.; a member of the Ormond Beach Planning Board; a member of the Volusia County Educational Authority; a member of the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee; and President of the Board of Directors of the Daytona Beach Art League.
He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, June Rooney Fidel; his daughter, Barbara Fidel Adams, and her husband, Jim Adams; his son, Lawrence Fidel, and his wife, Katie Fidel; two grandsons; three granddaughters; three great-granddaughters; three great grandsons; and his brother, Edward Allen Fidel.