John Tomlinson Ferris
Funeral services for John Tomlinson Ferris of Cedarburg and formerly Lexington, Mass. will be held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 20 at the Pilgrim United Church of Christ (1621 2nd Ave.) in Grafton. John was born to eternal life on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007 at the age of 84. Visitation will be held at the church on Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., prior to the funeral service. Interment will take place at Hancock Cemetery in Hancock. Mueller Funeral Home in Cedarburg is serving the family.
John was born in Chicago Heights, Ill. He was raised in several towns in southern Wisconsin, including Baraboo, Walworth and Reedsburg. He graduated from Hartford High School in 1940, received a bachelor of arts degree from Northland College in Ashland in 1947 and, in 1951, received his master of science degree from the University of Houston in Texas. Volunteering for military service during World War II interrupted his college studies. From 1943-45, he served as a sergeant in ground radar repair for the U.S. Army Air Corps in the South Pacific.
In his work career, John started as a professor of photography at the University of Houston serving as chairman of the department for eight years. This position was followed by 10 years at the Bausch & Lomb Company in Rochester, N.Y., as head of the electro-optical and fiberoptic research department where six patents were granted. John was then a cost engineer for the Stone & Webster Company in Boston, Mass.
Both John and his wife were "raised as Wisconsinites" so, after John retired from Stone & Webster, they returned to Wisconsin. John was involved in many community activities including Rotary and many church-related services. He served as an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church in Houston and continued serving in that role in Pittsford, N.Y. He was elected deacon at the Hancock United Church of Christ in Lexington, Mass., where he served on various committees such as finance and directed weekly live television broadcasts. Though retired, he remained an active church member with the Grafton Pilgrim U.C.C. congregation until his death. His greatest enjoyment however, over the last 60 years, was to spend time at his lake property on the Wisconsin River with family and friends. His family and friends now mourn his passing but know that his deep, strong faith will bring him to the joy of Godís presence.
John was the beloved husband of the late (June 2, 2006) Elizabeth "Betty" (nee Johnson) Ferris for 54 years; the loving father of Mary (Ferris) Litton and Larry Gray of Boston, Mass., and John Bailey and Natalie (Nelson) Ferris of Cedarburg; the beloved grandfather of James Robert and Valorie (Palmer) Litton III of Indianapolis, Ind., and Erin Elizabeth Ferris and Kathleen Ann Ferris of Cedarburg; the dear brother of Harlo Hakes, Ann (Favorite) Ferris Jr., Mary Statira (Ferris) and Robert Judson Gilbert; and brother-in-law of David Bailey and Rita (Gingles) Johnson. John was a zany, thoughtful uncle to many nieces and nephews and a loyal friend to those who became part of his extended family in both heart and deed.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Johnís name may be sent to Northland College, 1411 Ellis Ave., Ashland, WI 54806 (www.northland.edu) or to the Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Grafton.