Shenandoah University said goodbye to one of its most ardent supporters on Monday, April 23, 2018, with the passing of Wilbur M. Feltner at the age of 98.
Feltner was one of seven Winchester community leaders instrumental in bringing Shenandoah University from Dayton, Virginia, to the city in 1960; served as a member of the university’s board of trustees from 1964 until 1992; and was named trustee emeritus in 1993. Two years later, the university awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to him.
Mr. Feltner was a singular presence for the university, having been one of its most stalwart and generous friends for more than 50 years. His actions throughout those years spoke to his love for both the university and the greater Winchester community. With the Feltner Community Foundation's donation of the Feltner Building, he further integrated those communities, by bringing additional university students, faculty and staff to the heart of Winchester. He valued the people he met, as well as their stories. His contribution to the story of Shenandoah is of inestimable value.” —Shenandoah University President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.
In 2011, the Feltner Community Foundation provided the university with its largest-ever property gift with the donation of the Wilbur M. Feltner Building. The donation helped the university wrap up the celebration of the 50th anniversary of its move to Winchester. Formerly known as 9 Court Square, the Feltner Building is composed of several structures situated at the northeast corner of Loudoun and Boscawen streets, on the first public lots surveyed for the city in 1744, by Winchester founder James Wood. The foundation donated the property after it had undergone a multimillion dollar renovation in the 1990s by Feltner and F&M Bank, which he led for decades.
“My work with F&M Bank to renovate this property was part of a larger goal to keep Old Town Winchester a hub of local commerce and activity. I know Shenandoah University will continue this tradition of providing opportunities for the residents of Winchester and the surrounding counties.” Mr. Feltner said when the donation was announced.
The Feltner Building currently houses a number of university offices, including those for advancement, annual giving, and alumni services.
When Feltner won a local philanthropy award in 2011, he continued to express his regard for the university. Via a taped appearance, he said that the university had been his love “for better than 50 years, really,” according to a Nov. 16, 2011, report in The Winchester Star.
Feltner was a longtime Winchester-area business leader who struggled through the Great Depression with his family. A 1938 graduate of Clarke County High School, Feltner began working at Farmers & Merchants National Bank, in 1942. He served his country in World War II and after spending three and a half years in the Army Air Corps, he returned to Farmers & Merchants as a teller and began a climb through the ranks that resulted in his appointment as president of the bank in 1964. He continued in that role until 1985 and served as the bank’s board chairman and CEO until his 2001 retirement. He was predeceased by his wife of 71 years, Helen, who passed away in March 2017.