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Mt. Lebanon CPA valued family, faith, clients, Notre Dame

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By Jerry Vondas
Thursday, June 10, 2010

As a former IRS agent and CPA, James Fellin knew how to strike a deal.

Mr. Fellin, a devout Catholic, offered to pay his children's way to college on one condition.

"Dad agreed to pay all of our tuitions if we attended a Catholic college or university," said his daughter, Terry Schoenberger of Cleveland, a graduate of John Carroll University. "If we didn't, we were on our own."

James J. Fellin of Mt. Lebanon, who established the firm James J. Fellin CPA, died on Sunday, June 6, 2010, in UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland. He was 76.

"I graduated from John Carroll; my sister, Nancy, from Duquesne; my sister, Leanne, from Notre Dame, and my brother, Jim, from Villanova," said Schoenberger.

She recalled her father's devotion to St. Winifred Church in Castle Shannon, where he was a lector, usher and a member of the church's finance committee.

Born and raised in Hazleton, Luzerne County, Mr. Fellin was one of seven children in the family of Otto and Mary Lenihan Fellin. His father was a foreman with Pennsylvania Power & Light Co. in Allentown.

"My husband graduated from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, where he majored in accounting," said Rose Marie Lanfrankie Fellin, whom he married in 1957.

"We met when Jim was a trainee in the Pittsburgh office of the IRS, where I was working. He spent seven years as an IRS agent before he started his own accounting firm.

"He was a hard worker, a good husband and father, who loved his family," Mrs. Fellin said.

Schoenberger said her father always looked out for his clients. "When Dad handled business for a client, he did it with a sense of responsibility. The people who trusted Dad with their affairs were more than clients -- they were friends."

She said her father loved sports and supported Notre Dame University.

"He did so much fundraising for the school that the University Club of Notre Dame named him their Man of the Year."

In addition to his wife Rose and daughter, Terry, Mr. Fellin is survived by his children, Nancy Cuddy of Mt. Lebanon, Leanne Burnett of Charlotte, N.C., and James Fellin of Philadelphia; eight grandchildren; and four siblings, Elizabeth McCoy of Florida, Alice Ferdinand of Philadelphia, Thomas Fellin of Las Vegas and Richard Fellin of Maryland.

He was preceded in death by two sisters, Margaret Losty and Nancy Fellin.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today in the William Slater II Funeral Service, 1650 Greentree Road, Scott.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday in St. Winifred Church.

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