The late Dan Feather was one of the youngest inductees to be elected to the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
Feather was born in Jamestown on June 29, 1947 and started his sports accomplishments at a young age. According to a member of the Jamestown Roadrunnners Club, Feather was the first local person to seriously pursue running. He started at the age of 11 and ran competitively for nearly 34 years.
In elementary school, Feather garnered red ribbons in the 40, 60 and 80-yard runs. Then, in 1963, he was a member of the Section 6 cross-country championship team at Jamestown High School.
Feather placed third in the two-mile of the Chautauqua County Class A 1964 Meet and the following year was runnerup in the mile run of the Section 6 Class AAA Meet.
Also, in 1965, the year he graduated, Jamestown was unbeaten 17-0 and the Section 6 Class AAA track champions. He was a member of the winning mile relay at the Olean Relay Carnival and placed third in the mile run of the Class AAA Qualifier at Hamburg. The next weekend he was sixth in the State Meet at Cornell University.
After graduation, Feather went to Jamestown Community College and was on the cross-country team. Then, he entered Buffalo State as a junior in 1967 and had a distinguished career.
Feather established winter track school records of 2:16.6 in the 1000-yard run and 1:54.5 in the 880. In addition, he set a Niagara AAU quarter-mile record of 55.5 and also ran the 440, intermediate hurdles, the high hurdles, the high jump and the relays.
He was captain of the cross-country team which won the state title in 1967 and was again captain in 1968 when Buffalo State placed fifth. Teammate Jerry Pollock from Long Island said that Dan Feather was the most versatile athlete he had ever known.
Over a period of 12 years (1977-1989), Feather racked up 33 medals in the New York State and International Police Olympics. Broken down, he had 14 gold medals, 13 silver and six bronze.
Feather competed in the decathlon, various running events, hurdles and bicycling events. ln 1987 in the International Olympics at Lake Placid, he dominated the winter event by capturing golds in the biathlon, which combined shooting and skiing. He additionally took part in the Police Olympics competition in San Diego, Columbus, Ohio and Nassau County, Long Island over the years.
Feather, an officer for the Jamestown Police Department, was a dedicated and distinguished shooter. He shot in the High Master class (the highest class in shooting) in Police Pistol Competition. He placed in 109 shooting matches winning trophies, plaques and merchandise.
In Canadian competition, he was the Top American Shooter at the R.C.M.P. Championships in '83, '86 and '89; at the Peel Regionals in '86, '87, '88 and '89; at the O.H.A./P.R.C.O. Championships in '89 and '91: at the Ontario Police College Championship in 1992; and at the Metro Toronto Championship in 1990. In his memory, a trophy is awarded annually to the highest shooter in the Fall Provincial Championships.
Allan H. Rostic wrote an article about Feather called "The Best" that appears in the Ontario Association Magazine, which has a circulation of over 6000. Other recognitions for Feather were an NRA 1480 Club Medallion presented for the highest shooting scores and in 1990 he was presented the Chautauqua County Achievement Award for personal fitness presented for skiing a marathon, biking a century and completing a triathlon in the same year. At the time he was the only person ever to receive this award.
Feather was co-founder of the Chautauqua Striders and in 1979 was presented a plaque by the Chadakoin Valley Athletic Club, forerunner of the Striders. In 1980, he received the merit award in recognition of outstanding service on behalf of the Chautauqua Striders. On July 7, 1990, he also received a "Friend of the Striders Award" presented at the opening track meet at Strider Field.
For many years, Feather was a teacher for the Sheriff's Academy and Basic Firearms School for police officers. He was a SWAT volunteer, he was a sniper for 17 years, and taught co-ed self-defense class at Jamestown Community College for nine campaigns.
Feather had several non-sports honors, including receiving plaques, JPD Certificate of Commendation for outstanding performance of duty, resulting in the arrest of burglary suspects, JPD Certificate of Commendation for meritorious police service and Chautauqua County Probation Office recognition as an outstanding instructor of Firearms Training for the Sheriff's Academy. Also, he received a JPD Certificate of Commendation for Exceptional Police with three stars and JPD Commendation for assisting in the apprehension of armed drug dealers.
"Dan loved to participate. He possessed the discipline to train to become a winner," said his wife, Mrs. Verna Feather. "He shared and taught others, was a motivator, whether running, shooting, skiing or biking."
Feather died very unexpectedly on May 12, 1992, at the age of 44, of a brain aneurysm, and two weeks later the Jamestown City Council passed a resolution honoring the tremendous accomplishments of an oustanding athlete and person.
Dan Feather was inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.