About Tom Feist
Born in 1933 to John A and Ivra Feist, Tom Feist was one of eight siblings and a lifelong resident of Spearville KS. He received his BA of Education at St. Mary of the Plains College and served as President of the Alumni Association. He married Roberta Leiker in 1959, a nurse at St. Joe Hospital.
Tom & Roberta had six children, Jay Kathy, Paula, Todd, Jill and Jodi.
Tom and Roberta Feist spent most of their lives in Spearville. Tom was an ardent supporter of the community and lived a full life. He was a farmer and rancher while teaching, co-founded Feist Publications, served on the Boards of Yellow Pages Publishers Association and the Association of Directory Publishers, was a majority shareholder of the Ford County State Bank and served on its board, and was a civil war buff along with hobbies of running, cycling, a landscape photographer and supporting the Chiefs and KC Royals. Tom was the middle school basketball coach, taught history and US Civics at the Spearville High School from 1959 to 1972 and then served on the Spearville Board of Education.
Tom and Roberta founded Feist Publications in 1977 based in Spearville with Tom as its president. The company produced yellow page directories for various communities. Tom and Roberta saw a need for an area telephone book with one book rather than each town having a separate book. They hoped to make a profit selling ads in the books.
Feist partnered with the Spearville News to publish the first Feist phone book, named the Southwest Area-Wide Phone book, in the spring of 1978.
Each and every year Feist would win Gold Book Awards for best radio and marketing ad, best cover design, best community pages and more. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by New Jersey-based Kelsey Group in 2003. In 2004 Feist Publications was sold to Yellow Pages and a few years later they closed the Spearville operation.
The teacher in Tom Feist never took a back seat. Originally a farmer and rancher, Mr. Feist taught his children the principles of hard work and responsibility essential to financial survival.
Tom Feist passed away on January 17, 2011 at the age of 77 and rest in the St John Cemetery in Spearville KS.
To his family and friends around Spearville, Tom Feist’s legacy is that of a tireless, common-sense entrepreneur who used the work ethic and honesty he learned on the farm to build a publishing empire.
To learn more about Tom Feist, watch the documentary.
Tom Feist, Founder
Tom was a weather enthusiast and enjoyed keeping very detailed information about precipitation. See current weather conditions in Spearville below.
Tom Feist Foundation Board Members:
Ron Herrman, President-Treasurer
Sandy Hines, Secretary
Jay Feist, Vice-President
Paula Feist Alefs