The consummate "Tommie," he was the brains and brawn behind many Catholic and charity events.
Michel "Mike" Feltault, a tireless social networker and photographer who organized and chronicled hundreds of civic and corporate events in the Twin Cities, died at Regions Hospital in St. Paul on May 3, five days after suffering a heart attack. Feltault, who lived in Minneapolis, was 52.
He made his living as an entrepreneur, salesman and manufacturer's representative for various companies, but his heart was in volunteering, said those who knew him. In a eulogy for his longtime friend, the Rev. Paul Jarvis, pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Rosemount, called Feltault "a catalyst for fun and gathering, and generosity of spirit."
He was especially active on behalf of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, from which he graduated in 1981. He served on its alumni board and won its Monsignor James Lavin Award in 2009 for his volunteer service. Other events he took on sprung from his membership in the Serra Club, a Catholic service organization.
Feltault was born in Minneapolis and graduated from Benilde-St. Margaret's in St. Louis Park and the then-College of St. Thomas, said his brother David, of Minneapolis. As a young Eagle Scout, Feltault worked as a counselor at Many Point Scout Camp near Ponsford, Minn., where he was "quite the organizer," his brother said.
At St. Thomas, he studied business and economics and served as president of his senior class. His love of the institution made him the quintessential "Tommie," friends and relatives said.
After college, he worked for Honeywell Inc., driving a show van decked out with company products. "He went all across the country, got to see everything," and developed a love of skiing in the Rockies, David said. He then worked for companies in Chicago, Dallas and Sacramento, Calif., before returning to the Twin Cities around 2000.
When not working, he "was cultivating the local social networks," his brother said. He loved every aspect of organizing and running fundraisers, from detail work to rounding up other volunteers, and most of all loved the events themselves. "Whenever an organization needed, say, 20 people to pour beer at the Aquatennial, he was the guy who could round them up," his brother said. "He was an Energizer Bunny kind of guy, going all the time."
Feltault's girlfriend, Kari Cribbs of Eden Prairie, said, "He had a way of engaging people, of touching on just the subjects you'd most want to talk or laugh about.
"When I'd ask him why he worked on all these causes and events, he'd say, 'It's all about the people.' He got the same kind of thrill from social events as someone who skis down a hill or climbs a mountain."
In his eulogy, Jarvis said Feltault "was perhaps the most simple complex person in the world, the most private of public persons."
"His generosity, his loyalty, his lived faith, his spirit, his emotional control, are legend," the priest said. "What motivated this guy, who didn't have two pennies to rub together, who could've easily parlayed his Rolodex of connections into a Rollex fortune?" He credited Feltault's family and Eagle Scout experience with giving him "the discipline and loyalty and fun that would hone his sense for, and skill, in compassion and community-building." He urged mourners to "be like Mike" in their service to others.
In addition to David, Feltault is survived by another brother, Jerome of Topsfield, Mass.; and two sisters, Michelle, his twin, of Belle Plaine, and Diane Keefe of Robbinsdale. Services have been held.
Pamela Miller • 612-673-4290