John Warren Fee, Jr., of Hingham, known his entire life as “Jack,” passed away peacefully on June 14, 2023. He was 93. A true son of Hingham, Jack grew up on Downer Avenue in his beloved Crow Point, the son of John W. Fee, Sr., and Edna Lyons Fee. The only boy among four children, Jack’s sisters Joan, Anne and Mary, all predeceased him.
As a young boy growing up during the Depression and World War II, Jack helped his family persevere by tending to the family’s dairy cow, chickens, other livestock and the vegetable gardens on their property. Crow Point, Hingham Harbor and Hingham Bay were his domain as a youth, where one could find him fishing, exploring, duck hunting, boating and always, working. His talent for carpentry and woodworking blossomed during his youth. He could build anything, from structures to cabinetry. Determined to become a carpenter, Jack attended Weymouth Trade and Vocational High School and graduated in 1949. He immediately began working for Frank Donnellan, a well-known builder who was building homes in North Weymouth during the post-war building boom.
In 1950, two events changed Jack’s life. First, he met the love of his life, Laurene Kelley of Brighton, Massachusetts, when they both coincidentally served in the wedding party for Laurene’s brother Bob. Second, the Korean War began. In 1952, Jack enlisted in the United States Air Force completing basic training during the winter months at Sampson Air Force base on the frigid shores of Lake Seneca in upstate New York. After receiving further training at Bryan Air Force Base in Texas, Jack deployed to Korea during combat operations with the 605th Tactical Control Squadron. After a year in Korea where he was positioned near the 38th Parallel that separated warring North and South Korea, Jack returned safely with a duffle bag full of letters Laurene had sent to him during his deployment to the war zone. While on a brief leave in February 1954, he married Laurene in Brighton. The couple embarked immediately by train for Panama City, Florida, and Tyndall Air Force Base where Jack would fulfill the next two years of his military service.
Honorably discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant, Jack and Laurene returned to Hingham in 1956 with their one-year-old son, John W. Fee, III (“Jay”). They moved into a house in West Hingham that had been in the Fee family since 1849. Jack renovated the house and soon a second son, Michael Kelley Fee, was born.
For decades, Jack worked as a carpenter, builder and cabinet maker, primarily — though not exclusively — in Hingham. He loved working on Hingham’s colonial era homes, matching the finish work of the old masters precisely. He was proud to have been selected to work on some of Hingham’s iconic historic buildings, including the steeple of the Old Ship Church, Wilder Memorial Hall, Hingham Yacht Club, and the Old Ordinary. From a shop in his home, Jack produced masterpieces of custom cabinetry and finish work. Countless homes in Hingham have additions, porches, family rooms, custom kitchens and bathrooms constructed by Jack. In retirement, Jack continued to create in his shop, turning out beautiful cabinets, furniture, and the most spectacular hand-carved birds of all kinds, each adorned with authentic coloration, his personal stamp on the bottom, and housed in one of his custom-built display cases.
Jack was a lifelong member of St. Paul’s Church, proud that the name of Thomas Fee, an ancestor and a founder of the parish, is emblazoned on one of the church’s beautiful stained-glass windows. He was a member of the Holy Name Society, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and a supporter of St. Paul’s School. Over the years, Jack donated his time and talent to perform work for the parish, including extensive carpentry work at the Convent on Fearing Road where a beautiful flagpole donated by Jack and Laurene flies the American Flag high above the school each day.
In the 1960’s, Jack served as a volunteer firefighter in Hingham, often dropping his tools at the sound of the claxon to answer the call of his community. He was a proud member of American Legion Post 120, attending meetings at G.A.R. Hall and regularly participating in parades, ceremonies in volunteer activities. He was also a member of the Korean War Veteran’s Association and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Jack is survived by his wife of 69 years, Laurene, two sons, Jay and his wife Joan Zuhusky Fee of Hingham, and Michael and his wife Elizabeth Clancy Fee of Needham. Jack is also survived by six grandchildren, Monica and her spouse Bryan (Pelham, New York), Nicholas (Hoboken, New Jersey), James and his spouse Christina (Rye, New York), Thomas (Boston, Mass.), John (Boston, Mass.) and Margaret (Boston, Mass.), as well as four great-grandchildren, Brigid and Catherine (Pelham, New York) and Abigail and Christopher (Rye, New York).
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to greet the family during the visiting hours on Thursday, June 22, 2023, 4-8 PM in the Pyne Keohane Funeral Home, 21 Emerald St. (off Central St.), HINGHAM.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held in the funeral home at 9 AM on Friday, June 23, 2023, prior to the Funeral Mass in St. Paul’s Church, Hingham at 10 AM.
Services conclude with interment in St. Paul’s Cemetery, Hingham.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent in Jack’s name to Norwell Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice, 120 Longwater Dr., Norwell, MA 02061.