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Dr. Joseph Paul Fearey

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“God's speed Joe, Lou Anne and James McKeefery ”
1 of 1 | Posted by: Lou Anne McKeefery - Milpitas, CA

Joseph Paul Fearey was born November 25, 1929, in Schenectady, New York to Joseph Gregory Fearey and Anne Elizabeth Coffey.

Joe studied at Siena College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he earned his undergraduate degree in math and physics and, in 1976, his PhD in Economics and Business Economics from Claremont Graduate School. In 1975, in a quiet cabin in Running Springs, CA, he completed his doctoral dissertation "Optimal Control of Effort Delivered by a Stochastic Labor Force." Subsequently, as an adjunct professor at CGS, he taught macro-economics.

During the Korean War period, he served with the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany. His passionate interest in military combat operations and world history would prove fundamental throughout his life and contributions.

Joe began his scientific and program management career with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1956, serving in a variety of roles for over five decades. Various projects and programs he served included: Sergeant Missile Aerodynamics, Lunar and Deep Space Vehicle Orbit Determination, and Tracking Predicts. As the station manager of the Deep Space Network's Station 62 in Cebreros, Spain, he oversaw the construction of the antenna and facilities and managed its operation for five years before formally handing off its continuing operations to Spanish management with then NASA Administrator, Dr. Thomas O. Paine. In 1980, Joe became a key contributor and developer of JPL's Military Training Simulation. With co-developer Mike de Gyurky and a formidable team at the Lab he developed Corps Battle Simulation for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and participated in the Joint Non-Kenetic Effects Model.

To quote one of his colleagues, Joe was "A hero, legend, national asset . . . all words that fail to describe what Joe and the team he led contributed to the readiness of the United States Army and all the Armed Forces for that matter. "

In October of 1993, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory presented Dr. Fearey the Exceptional Achievement Award in Technology and Applications Programs in recognition of innovative leadership in the establishment, research, and development of large-scale computer simulation for training senior military officers.

In 1964, he was asked to write a job description for a system analyst position for the soon-to-be implemented Deep Space Tracking Stations in Spain. Seizing the opportunity, he wrote such a thorough job description that only one person had the qualifications to fill this position and that was . . . Joe Fearey, of course. So with a new wife, four children, a dog, and a grand piano in tow, he began a new life in sunny Spain. He soon attained the position of Station Manager for Site 61 and shortly thereafter construction began on Site 62. Returning to Pasadena after five years in Spain, he received support from JPL to reenter the halls of academe to pursue his Masters and subsequent PhD.

Among his personal accomplishments, perhaps the most satisfying was supporting his wife, Deirdre, in the conception and design of their dream home in Idyllwild, California. After 18 months of construction they took occupancy on Thanksgiving 1997 and spent many happy years there. They opened their home to Idyllwild community events including concerts, fundraisers and garden and home tours. The home became known as The Hall of the Mountain King. In 2010 they left their home for Joe's health and moved to Segovia in Palm Desert, CA.

He is survived by his wife, Deirdre, a son Joe and four daughters, Michelle, Cheryl, Cecile and Moira; his brother, Peter James Fearey and his wife Linda; friends and relatives who loved and appreciated him and his beloved little dog, "Cio-Cio San."

Among the sentiments expressed by friends and colleagues:

"He had much broader impact on saving Soldiers lives than many people will ever know or appreciate as he helped senior leaders really learn their job."

"Legend is a term used too often, and because of that, its meaning can be watered down. For Joe, the true meaning of the term fits perfectly. He was a Renaissance man who could speak intelligently about theology, mathematics, politics, the military, computer science and most importantly . . . sports. He will be missed."

The family wishes to thank Joe's colleagues at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that enabled him to make a contribution to extraordinary work. The family deeply appreciates friends at the Segovia in Palm Desert community, its residents and staff and the community of Idyllwild. Many thanks to Reliance Hospice and Victoria Falls Home Care for their guidance, comfort, support and compassion.

Finally, to his beloved Jessica Anne LaGue, whose spirit and strength sustained her "Papa" in his last days with comfort and care.

If you would like to offer an act of kindness in Joe Fearey's memory please consider the Wounded Warrior Project.


The family of Joseph Paul Fearey invite you to join us to celebrate Joe's life
Sunday January 12, 2014, at 2:00 P.M. in Segovia's Great Hall.

We look forward to this special occasion and we welcome your participation.

Segovia of Palm Desert
39905 Via Scena
Palm Desert, CA 92260

Contact: Joe LaGue
(two-zero-eight) 608 - two-one-two-three cell/text