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Press Release

NEA mourns passing of Montana education and labor leader Eric Feaver

The longtime leader of the Montana Federation of Public Employees was the state’s most prominent advocate for public education and public institutions
Published: June 23, 2022

WASHINGTON — The longtime, immediate past president of the Montana Federation of Public Employees, Eric Feaver, who was serving as the current city commissioner in Helena, Montana, has died. He was 77. MFPE is the state-level affiliate of the National Education Association.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle:

“Eric Feaver was a force of nature. From his beginnings in rural Oklahoma to Helena, Montana, where he would dedicate his life to public service, Eric advocated for Montanans from the schoolhouse to the state house. Even before his nearly four decades at the helm of the state’s largest labor public employee union, he was a decorated combat medic in Vietnam. He landed in Montana, where he found his life’s passion as an English and social studies teacher in Helena public schools. For nearly four decades, Eric was a steadfast advocate for Montana’s students, educators, public education, and public employees. He also loved nature, hiking, and the beauty that is Montana.

“Eric was not the tallest, but his stature was grand, and when he walked through the halls of the state capitol, he made his presence known. He spoke with refreshing frankness and candor, commanding the attention of elected officials and his peers. He called out legislators when they failed to put Montana’s kids first in every way. Eric knew first-hand the importance of solidarity and worked with Montana public employees to ensure everyone had their voices heard. He dedicated his life’s work to demanding the legislature fund public schools and worked to increase state employee pay, worked for better health care benefits, protected public employee and teacher pensions, and expanded Medicaid. At times, it seemed nothing could stop Eric — even cancer.

“Our hearts are heavy with Eric’s passing, and our thoughts are with his wife Ellen, his children, and his grandchildren. Rest in Power, my friend. We will see you again.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at 


National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.