Dr. Mack Felton Jr.
It is with the greatest sadness we announce the passing of Dr. Mack Felton Jr. on Thursday, December 10, 2020. Mack Felton Jr. was born in New Orleans on March 21, 1934. He was the fourth child of Mack and Enola Felton. Being raised in a family of faith, he was baptized by the Reverend Dr. Matthews McGary at the age of sixteen. He proudly served this nation in the United States Army and was honorably discharged. He then attended Southern University in Baton Rouge majoring in Biology. While at Southern University, he became a proud member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. It was also at Southern University that he met the love of his life, Norma Jean Davis. They were married on August 13, 1961 and began a family, eventually being blessed with four children, Mack Anthony (Tasha), Michael Andrew (Maria), daughters, Marilyn Joyce and Carolyn Jean.
After gaining a Master of Science degree in Biology from Loyola University, he went on to earn a Doctorate in Pathogenic Microbiology from Oregon State University. While earning his doctorate, Mack and Norma moved their family to Oregon where they lived for three years. Upon his return to the New Orleans area he became a professor at Southern University in New Orleans (SUNO) and would go on to be Chair of the Department of Biology for nearly twenty years. During his tenure as chair, he assisted with the development of the Nursing Program and the Medical Technology Program at SUNO. He helped guide hundreds of students into medical school, nursing school and other fields of medical science all while guiding Biology majors and post graduate students to their degrees and doctorates.
After very brief retirement (three days), he then went on to serve as a professor at Dillard University in the Biology department for eleven years. He retired for a second time in 2003, and was awarded an Emeritus Professor position at Mississippi Valley State University, piloting a program to map the genome of pathogenic microbes and infectious agents. Finally, after more than fifty years of service as an educator, Dr. Felton retired from Mississippi Valley State University in 2014.
Anyone who had the privilege of meeting Mack Felton Jr. immediately became aware of his great love for life and family. He knew no stranger and would befriend anyone who needed his help. From mentoring his students to being “always there for you” Uncle Toot or Uncle Mack to his many nieces and nephews, genetic and of the heart, he would always have patient and sage advice to give and a listening ear. Helping others grow to their maximum potential gave him great pleasure and he never ceased his efforts on behalf of his students and family. He encouraged a love of learning in everyone that he met and succeeded in inculcating this love of knowledge and learning in all of his children. A great family man, he devoted himself whole heartedly to ensuring the well-being of his children and to the great love of his life, Dr. Norma Davis Felton. His booming voice was most often heard raised in laughter and jovial conversation with friends and family. Much to the chagrin of his children when they were younger, he would strike up conversations with complete strangers in the grocery store if he thought they needed to hear a kind word. He was a voracious reader, avid fisherman, music (especially jazz) lover, and all-around sports fan. These memorable aspects of Mack’s personality were carried on by his children and grandchildren.
Dr. Felton’s influence was felt beyond the walls of SUNO, Dillard and MVSU where he worked. He was always willing to give needed supplies to the middle school where his wife Norma worked for many years and to team up with his close friend and colleague Dr. Clyde Smith to teach a science class or judge a science fair in one of the public schools. No matter what a student’s actual potential, he was always convinced he might be mentoring or advising a future scientist or doctor.
Though his wife can attest to the fact that he did not inherit his father’s singing voice, he never lost his love for God and Second Zion Baptist Church. As a member of the Trustee Board he spent an inordinate amount of time in the search for a new Pastor and development of new church by-laws.
Dr. Felton was a devoted Christian and served as deacon and on the board of trustees at Second Zion Baptist Church, his home church for decades. He is survived by his wife of fifty nine years, Dr. Norma Davis Felton, his children Mack Anthony (Tasha), Michael Andrew (Maria), Marilyn Joyce, Carolyn Jean, his granddaughters Rachel, Jasmine and Ariana Sofia. He is preceded in death by his parents, Mack Felton and Enola Felton, his brothers Charles, Samuel and Richard.
Funeral services will be held Friday, December 18, 2020 at 11:00 am at Second Zion Baptist Church No: 1, 2929 Second Street, New Orleans, LA 70113. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in-person attendance will be limited to the immediate family. Family, friends, and colleagues will be able to attend the funeral services virtually via Zoom meeting. A link to the virtual service (Zoom meeting) and detailed instructions are available at the following web page:
Charbonnet-Labat-Glapion Funeral home on 1615 St. Philip Street, New Orleans LA 70116 is in charge of funeral arrangements.