The elder Fey, a Philadelphia native, died of heart failure, according to the obits, and was laid to rest on Friday. He was a Korean War veteran, former Philadelphia firefighter and professional writer for more than 30 years, mostly working in fundraising and development.
In the Inquirer obituary, Tina Fey remembered the way he cared for her and her brother Peter as well as his love of the arts and patriotism.
“He was a great dad and a talented artist and writer, but I also think of him as a Great American,” Tina Fey told the Inquirer. “He served his country in Korea; he served his city as a fireman; he took his kids regularly to art museums and historical sites.”
She added: “When he taught me how to play baseball he would say to me, ‘If you throw like a girl again, we’re going in.’ (I took it in the spirit it was intended.) He read poetry and history and newspapers. He was an informed patriot. The Republican Party should have tried to clone him.”
In the Daily News obit, Tina Fey recalled how her dad taught her about watercolors.
“I remember being 5 or 6 and sitting on his lap in the basement art studio while he taught me about watercolor painting,” Fey told the Daily News. “I helped him do ‘color studies,’ where you see what you get mixing cadmium yellow and cerulean blue. That sort of thing.”
The Saturday Night Live alum also revealed how her dad urged her to stay in New York and remain strong after the 9/11 attacks.
“I thought my parents would tell me to come home to Philadelphia till things got safer,” she said. “Maybe I was hoping they would tell me that. But, instead, my Dad invoked Churchill and said how important it was for everyone in New York to carry on like Londoners did during WWII. So I stayed.”
She also talked about the Bobby Clarke portrait her father painted, which hung inside the front door of her family home.
“I think it very accurately let any visitors know what our family priorities were at that time — hockey, art, not caring what people thought,” Tina Fey said.
According to the Daily News, Donald Fey, who died at 82, was an avid reader who also wrote four full-length unpublished novels and poetry. Two of his poems were read at his funeral service.
He was a graduate of Temple University and a scholarship has reportedly been established in his name to support returning veterans enrolled at the university’s School of Media and Communication, Department of Journalism.