By Chris Murphy
The scraped knuckles from fighting rusted bolts, the welts on the legs from tools dropped, the perpetually dirty hands, the burn marks from that wayward acetylene torch, along with the call about the broken down van on Route 128, are all coming to an end for our beloved auto mechanic and faculty member, John Fettig, as he retires after this school year.
For over four decades, John supervised the automotive shop for Landmark. He had two jobs: one, to teach students auto mechanics, and two, to keep the school’s fleet of vans, buses, and cars working. John has done these jobs with extraordinary grace and patience. Juggling these various duties could be daunting, but John was always ready to go the extra mile to get vehicles rolling or admit another student to an already busy class.
John loved to encourage students to take a chance, turn a wrench, get dirty, and learn a little something. He also directed more than a few students to make a living working on vehicles. With his support and direction, students found their place in the world of fixing cars and trucks. Whether you were a beginner or a veteran of the shop, you were expected to learn and pushed to explore. More than once he re-tooled the shop to reflect the tech trends that now drive automotives. John never lost the drive that made the auto shop relevant and interesting.
In between those two busy assignments, John often fixed faculty cars. John’s kindness, patience, and willingness to lend a hand saved teachers time and money. Two things in short supply for faculty. This was the true manifestation of his innate kindness and his willingness to share his expertise and his time.
As John retires, the notion of time passing quickly has hit us both. John and I wandered through college together 49 years ago, came to Landmark together, and have shared the experience of life together. Not everybody finds a friend who is that true. For that I will always be thankful.
We thank John for his service, dedication, and goodwill—and most fittingly, we will now call the building he worked in for so many years the John J. Fettig Automotive Shop.