Good Guy That He Was' Also Remembered Others

November 13, 2001

There's a round table that sits in the dining area in the firehouse of Engine Co. 235 in Bedford Stuyvesant, an incomplete memorial to the deceased and missing men of the company. Joan Bischoff's son, Lee Fehling, 28, a firefighter in the company, began the memorial several months ago, his mother said.

"He wanted to paint a shield on that table for every one of the guys from his firehouse that were either missing or had been killed," she said.

Fehling was asked by the men of his company to paint the table after they had seen a mural in a Coney Island firehouse that Fehling had painted last December depicting Coney Island and the men of that firehouse.

Now the men of Engine Co. 235 are working to finish the table. They will soon add Fehling's name.

Fehling, 28, died in the terrorist attacks of Sept.11.

Born in Wantagh in 1972, Fehling graduated from Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville in 1990. At 18, he took both the police department and firefighter exams, his mother said. Although he was accepted into the New York Police Department, he had to wait three more years before he went to work.

At 21, Fehling joined the 109th Precinct in Flushing, where he worked for five years, his mother said. During his lunch break Fehling would play a chanter, an instrument similar to a flute, to hone his bagpiping skills.

Bischoff said her son was also proficient in the saxophone, clarinet, piano and accordion. But he fell in love with the bagpipes and was amember of the Wantagh American Legion Bagpipe Band.

Fehling had a mischievous side, too. "He was a character while he was growing up," his mother said. "He was the family clown, and he always kept things lighthearted."

Last June, Fehling phoned his wife Danielle's friend who had just purchased a new home. He identified himself as a representative from Nassau County and told her that her fence was encroaching on her neighbor's property. She hung up the phone in shock. Fehling hung up in stitches.

"I miss his smile and his sense of humor the most," his wife said.

Their two children, Kaitlin, 4, and Morgan Lee, 8 months, have kept her busy. "The kids have been a real distraction," she said.

When asked what she wants her husband to be remembered for, Danielle Fehling said: "I just want him to be remembered for the good guy that he was."

-- Nick Iyer (Newsday)