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2003 Stories

David E. Feller, Esteemed Labor Law Scholar, Dies at Age 86
Professor Emeritus David E. Feller, passed away peacefully on February 10 at an Oakland hospital, where he had been admitted for multiple health problems. He was 86.

"David Feller was a widely respected labor law scholar and prominent member of the Boalt faculty for more than 35 years," says Boalt professor and former dean, Jesse Choper. "He came to Berkeley following a brilliant, nearly two-decade long career as one of the nation's preeminent appellate lawyers in this field, arguing a large number of the most important labor law cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court at that time."

Feller joined the Boalt Hall faculty in 1967. In 1987, he was awarded the prestigious Berkeley Citation in recognition of his extraordinary achievement in the field of labor law and his outstanding service to the Berkeley campus.

Before coming to Boalt, Feller argued a multitude of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also participated extensively in National Labor Relations Board proceedings and negotiated collective bargaining agreements for the United Steelworkers and other unions.

Feller was also active in civil rights litigation during his career. He served as part of the advisory committee of lawyers to assist General Counsel Thurgood Marshall of the NAACP in preparation for the school segregation cases. He also wrote or contributed to numerous amicus curiae briefs, including Brown v. Board of Education and University of California v. Bakke.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Gilda; younger brother Oscar of Palm Desert, California; sons Fred of Berkeley; Daniel of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Joseph of Phoenix; Jonathan of Mill Valley, California; and four granddaughters.

A memorial will be held Sunday, April 6 at 2 p.m. in the Faculty Club. The family has requested that gifts in his memory be made to Boalt Hall’s Hazard/Heyman Loan Fund, which provides interest free, short term loans to low income Boalt students. Please contact alumni relations at or 510-643-6542 for more information about making a gift.

A press release is available on the UC Berkeley website. Related stories also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News. For more information, please contact Erin Campbell at 510-643-8010 or

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