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Fein had been in and out of several hospitals since late December.He was best known to the community as the man behind the history of Fort Totten. He is credited with preserving much of the fort's history by maintaining a small museum at the fort and giving countless tours of the fort's grounds."He kept the memories alive," said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance and a friend of Fein. "It is the end of an era."Fein began his work as curator of the Fort Totten museum in 1952, after inheriting the responsibility from an Army general. He began to operate a small museum of precious Fort Totten artifacts and give tours of the museum and the fort."He felt it was important to preserve history for ourselves and for our future," said Ann Jawin, founder of the Center for the Women of New York, "and that we should know our country's history and that we should respect it and preserve it."Raised in Springfield, Mass., Fein enlisted in the military in 1936 at the age of 17 and served for 36 years. Shortly after his enlistment, Fein was sent to Panama and when the United States became involved in World War II, he served in the coast artillery gun crews in northern France and Cologne, Germany.He also was sent to Japan as part of the U.S. occupying forces and was later deployed to Korea to fight there.He retired from the U.S. Army as a chief warrant officer in the 1960s and served five years in the 77th Regional Readiness Command reserve unit based in Fort Totten.Friends of Fein hope to create some kind of permanent memorial for Fein at Fort Totten and will remember him as a someone who was always fascinated with history."When he saw the [fort], he would see and hear the people because it came alive for him," said Marie Fein, the wife of Fein's son, Michael, "and that's what he wanted to do. He wanted to bring it alive."He is predeceased by his wife of nearly 30 years, Nathalie Fein. In addition to Michael Fein, he is survived by three other children: Francine Hernandez, George Fein and Leonard Fein; 10 grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; and two sisters.A viewing for Fein will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on May 18 at Martin A. Gleason Funeral Home at 36-46 Bell Blvd. in Bayside. A memorial service will follow at 8 p.m. He will be buried with full military honors besides his wife at 9 a.m. on May 19 in Arlington National Cemetery.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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