Growing up, Peter and Tina Fey remember being immersed in all that Philadelphia had to offer.
Donald Fey, SMC ’66, took his children to the zoo, the Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Together, they explored movies, theater and historic sites.
Donald Fey had an appetite for knowledge, and he shared that passion with his children. Both went on to great success: Peter as a writer/producer for the QVC network, and Tina as one of America’s best-known comedians.
Donald Fey died last October, and his family decided to honor his love of learning and his Temple University roots through a scholarship fund for SMC students. The fund is specifically designated for military veterans to honor Mr. Fey’s service in the Korean War.
Tina says her dad was a true Philadelphian and “took full advantage of all the culture Pennsylvania had to offer.” He grew up in the city, and after the Korean War worked as a firefighter in Philadelphia. He studied journalism at Temple in the 1960s and worked as a fund-raising writer at the University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University.
Peter Fey, who also graduated from the School of Media and Communication (SMC ’84), said his father was a lifelong learner. His bedside table always had four or five books. He taught himself Greek, and surprised the family by speaking French to his nurse while in the hospital. “He had been taking out French disks from the library and learning French,” Peter said.
Donald Fey also had a creative side, which he instilled in his children. He was an amateur painter, a member of the Philadelphia Sketch Club and took art classes in the evening. He wrote fiction and poetry in his free time.
“He was really inspiring,” Tina Fey said. “A lot of kids grow up with dreams of doing those things and their parents are fearful and want them to get a law degree and have things to fall back on, but he and our mom always encouraged us to pursue whatever truly interested us.”
He was proud of his children’s success, Tina Fey said, “but I think also [he was proud] that we have loving families … I think he was happy that we have had the full lives that we’ve had.”
The family wants SMC students who receive this scholarship to honor their father’s legacy. Donald Fey, they said, was a man of hard work, passion and facts. “I think a great legacy for him would be someone who takes that and goes into the field and does so wholeheartedly,” Peter Fey said, “But you have to be able, like a referee, to set your own beliefs aside and look at the facts to report the story.”
“By the way he lived, you know, by his code, he showed us the right way to live life: to be open-minded, to get the facts, and to experience all life had to offer.”
Temple meant a lot to Donald Fey, and the family hopes his legacy will live on in scholarship recipients. “He was very, very much in love and proud of where he was from and where he started out—through the military to Temple, to where he ended up. He’s a local guy, but he is pretty much a citizen of the world. If we could all think a little more like that, it would be a very good thing,” Peter Fey said.
Make a contribution to support the Donald H. Fey Memorial Scholarship.