John Felker was born on November 23, 1854 in Fort Wayne Indiana He lived in Indiana until 1875 when he emigrated to Toledo. Once in Toledo he worked with A.T. Babbit & Co., a hat-making company. In 1876 he left Babbit's to establish his own haberdashery company.
In 1882 he radically changed his profession and founded "Felkers" food market. He remained active in this business until a broken hip forced his retirement in 1921. In 1927, Felker expanded the business and moved it to Ashland Avenue. He then assisted his son Herbert Felker in the operation of the family business until 1932.
John Felker was married to Mary C. Kohne who died in April, 1931. They had a son, Herbert, who as noted above, took over the family business in 1932. On May 13, 1933 he was married for a second time, this time to Esther Amstutz with whom he had a daughter, Dorie Mae, born on February 25, 1925.
Not only was he active in the business community, but he was also actively involved in the social life of Toledo. He was a member of the Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, a trustee of Woodlawn cemetery for 45 years, a member of the Toledo Food Distributors Association, the Ohio State Grocers Association, the National Grocers Association, the Toledo Chamber of Commerce, the Toledo Club, and the Masons. Jim Felker died April 9, 1946. [Toledo Biographical Scr
apbook (Fen-fist) Local History Room, Toledo Lucas County Public Library. Randolph C. Downes, ed., A History of Lake Shore Ohio: Family and Personal History, vol. 3 (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1952, 363-364.]