Joseph M. Feller, passionate professor, brilliant attorney, dedicated environmentalist and beloved friend, died at the age of 59 on Monday, April 8, 2013, following a car accident. Joe is survived by his mother, Gilda, three brothers and other family members, many inspired students, and a community of lawyers and colleagues who were touched by his passion and commitment.
A memorial service was held on Saturday, May 4, in Armstrong Hall on the Arizona State University's Tempe campus.
View an online version of the program from Joe's memorial here.
Contribute to a scholarship founded in Joe's name here.
The Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, where he taught for more than 25 years, has created the Professor Joseph Feller Memorial Scholarship to provide financial support to students interested in natural resources and environmental law. Information about the fund may be found at asufoundation.org/feller.
"Joe was a tremendous individual, and a great champion of the College of Law and role model for our students," said Dean Douglas Sylvester. "For more than 25 years, he was the driving force behind the College's environmental law curriculum and taught and inspired a generation of lawyers dedicated to protecting the environment."
Before receiving his law degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School, Professor Feller earned his bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a physics professor at Columbia University in New York City, then an attorney at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., before joining the ASU faculty in 1987.
Professor Feller was a renaissance man who enjoyed running, hiking, photography, travel and cross-country skiing, even coaching the 2008 Brazilian national cross-country ski team. He was legendary among students for organizing week-long field seminars in Northern Arizona, where they would explore public lands and waterways and focus on natural resource management issues involving water, rangelands and forests.
Professor Feller also was an important environmental law scholar, crafting articles for law reviews and mainstream publications, and he spoke at numerous legal and scientific conferences. He took a leave of absence from the College of Law from 2008-2011 to serve as the National Wildlife Federation's Visiting Senior Counsel in Boulder, Colo., and to teach at the University of Colorado Law School. On his return, he was energized to begin a new clinic on environmental justice that exposed students to administrative litigation—one of very few in the country.
Sylvester summed up Professor Feller's contributions on behalf of the College of Law and the legal community: "Joe is impossible to replace, and he will be greatly missed."
The slideshow played at the memorial is embedded below.