Dr. Thomas John Ferrara

June 23, 1927 - January 31, 2016
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Obituary

Dr. Thomas John Ferrara, 88, of Rockford, Illinois, died peacefully of natural causes Sunday, January 31, 2016 at home with his wife, Karen at his side. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children: Marirose Ferrara(John Mullin) of Oak Park, IL,  Dr. Hope (Dr. Richard) Ferrara Snively of Herndon, VA and Carina (Jeffery Furst) Ferrara-Furst of Rockford, IL, his grandchildren: Sabina Ferrara Mullin (Benjamin Schmuck) 32, Lena FerraraMullin 25, Michael Snively 28, Lauren Snively 25, Carly Snively 24, Joseph Snively 20, Thomas Ferrara Furst 15, Alexander Furst 11, Isabel Furst 11 and his great-grandchildren: Albert Schmuck 3 and Dominic Schmuck 1. He is predeceased by his wife Mary-Hope, and his elder sister, Mary Timothy.

 

He was born June 23, 1927 in North Adams, MA, the son of Gennaro and Rose (Cinalla) Ferrara. His childhood nick name was Juney. He graduated from Drury High School, attended Williams College and St. Michael’s Seminary. He went on to graduate from Illinois College of Optometry and was a practicing optometrist for 50 years. He was a veteran of the Army and the National Guard. On February 6, 1954, he married his wife of 53 years, Mary-Hope (Carini, predeceased). The couple moved to Belvidere, IL in 1963, where they raised their three daughters. Tom cherished the six years of love and companionship he and his wife Karen shared. They were married January 8, 2010. Once retired, he spent time exercising at the YMCA, following his beloved Chicago Cubs, going out dancing with Karen, and playing cards.

 

Tom grew up in the Berkshire Mountains next to the Appalachian Trail and was proud to have spent time hiking there. His parents named him Gaetano Gennaro, and he grew up speaking Italian in a community of immigrants, surrounded by music. During WWII he trained as a ski paratrooper, learning to jump from planes and ski down the Berkshire Mountains. He performed his patriotic duties and loved to march in The Veteran’s Day Parade. His Catholic Faith was important to him throughout his life, and he attended seminary for two years prior to meeting and falling in love with his wife of 53 years.

 

He and Mary-Hope moved to Belvidere in 1963.  He opened his Optometry practice in Belvidere and began Family Optical Centre Inc. in 1974. He loved his profession and his staff. He oversaw his offices until the week of his death. He was an enthusiastic community booster, and gave of his time in many ways. He was a proud Rotarian, and member of the “Noon” Rotary Club, holding a 40 year “perfect” attendance record. He was a past member of the Kiwanis Club of Belvidere, and the Sister Cities of Belvidere. He served as an Alderman in Belvidere. and was a regional School Board Trustee for many years. He volunteered at St. James Catholic Church in Belvidere where he was a lector and a member of the Knight of Columbus, council #735. and was a 4th Degree Grand Knight during his tenure. After retirement he became active at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, as a member/President of the Holy Name Society.

 

 

Dr. Tom was a proud Italian-American. He stressed the importance of family, friendship and perseverance. His positive attitude encouraged others to focus on the good things in life. He always remembered to thank friends and family for their hard work.  He loved to sing. His favorite song was, “You are My Sunshine,” which he sang with his family until the day of his death. He encouraged his family to always do the best they could. His motto was, “Don’t tell me what you can’t do; tell me what you can do, and for Heaven’s sake, DO IT.” He treated everyone with respect and always held himself to a high moral standard.

 

Tom was a life-long learner, and set challenges for himself. Once he set a goal, he was driven and focused until he achieved it. He earned a triple black belt in karate, biked throughout Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, participated in team canoe events.  He loved to meet new people, and hear their stories. He and Mary-Hope travelled throughout the world, and were active members in the Sister Cities program.

 

Many thanks to Heartland Hospice, his long time Parish nurse Vicki Pooley and his care givers Dawn Huffner, and Shirley Griffin for their compassion, friendship and skilled assistance.

 

Liturgy of Christian Burial will be at 10:00 a.m., Monday, February 8th, 2016 at St. James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL with Rev. Brian Geary celebrating. Prayers will be at 9:30 a.m., Monday, February 8th, 2016 at Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services, 218 W. Hurlbut Ave, Belvidere IL. Visitation will be from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sunday, February 7th at the funeral home. A prayer and personal reflection service will be held Sunday at 3:45 p.m. Memorials can be made in honor of Dr. Thomas J. Ferrara to  St James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL, The Belvidere YMCA, or Belvidere Rotary Club.

 

To light a candle or share a memory, visit www.AndersonFCS.com

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Service Schedule

Visitation Information

Date: Sunday, February 7, 2016

Time: 2:00 pm - 7:00 am

Visitation will be from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sunday, February 7th at the funeral home. A prayer and personal reflection service will be held Sunday at 3:45 p.m


Service Information

Date: Monday, February 8, 2016

Time: 10:00 am -

St. James Catholic Church

Address:

535 Caswell Street, Belvidere, IL, 61008

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Liturgy of Christian Burial will be at 10:00 a.m., Monday, February 8th, 2016 at St. James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL with Rev. Brian Geary celebrating. Prayers will be at 9:30 a.m., Monday, February 8th, 2016 at Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services, 218 W. Hurlbut Ave, Belvidere IL


Memorial Information

Memorials can be made in honor of Dr. Thomas J. Ferrara to  St James Catholic Church , The Belvidere YMCA, or Belvidere Rotary Club.


 

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Timeline for Dr. Thomas John Ferrara

Born: June 23, 1927
Died: January 31, 2016

Condolences for Dr. Thomas John Ferrara

Anderson Funeral & Cremation Services

Our sincere condolences.

The staff of Anderson Funeral & Cremation Services.

 

Marie Walters posted on 2/3/16

Sympathy to Karen and all of the family. Dr. Ferrara was my eye doctor when I first moved to Belvidere. Also shared Rotary days with him.

 

Bill Mayer posted on 2/7/16

My condolences to Karen, and the family of Dr. Tom Ferrara. We will miss his friendly face at the (y,) and his always upbeat attitude, especially his statement--"just do it!"

 

Valeri DeCastris and David Beccue posted on 2/5/16

So sorry to read that Dr. Tom is gone. Our deepest condolences to his children, wife and the Family Optical "family." I am sure that you all are reeling from this. I recall being so shocked at losing my friend Mary-Hope. They were certainly a dynamic duo and gave much of themselves to our communities. I will never forget the BLAST that they had dancing to my father's band of local jazz musicians at our wedding. They raved and raved about our wedding and the music. They always wanted me to come out and swim since I swim a lot here in Rockford. I think she told me that they swam twice a day! Unreal. But, the last time I saw Tom I knew something was not quite right with him mentally and attributed it to age. It was sad, as it often is when you note this in our older friends. We enjoyed having him as our doctor and having him sing as he walked in and "lecture" us to be happy. He was quite a character. I love Dr. Sarah Gregg at the office there now too and the staff do such a great job. Our hearts go out to you all. With my father's death in 2014, Dave and I have now lost both of our parents, so we know what Carina and the kids are going through. God Bless and comfort you all.

 

Emilia Vitale posted on 2/5/16

Ferrara Famalia, My condolences..He was such a nice man he would stop and talk with me at Loglis pizzeria and was pleasant and nice..God Bless Emilia Vitale

 

theresa leek posted on 2/5/16

So sorry to read this. I just loved him as my eye doctor until he retired. He just made a person feel so upbeat, he was sunshine in a dark room. He knew I was shy of doctors and he made me laugh and feel good about life. Wonderful person. He lived a good life as a caring person, my condolences to the family.

 

Don and Kathy Johannes, Jack and Julie Nimtz posted on 2/4/16

Tom and Mary Hope we're a delight to the Belvidere community. They were always interesting to visit with and shared their experiences with all. Both will be greatly missed. Our families have always admired their commitment to faith, family, friends and community.

 

Don and Kathy Johannes, Jack and Julie Nimtz posted on 2/4/16

Tom and Mary Hope we're a delight to the Belvidere community. They were always interesting to visit with and shared their experiences with all. Both will be greatly missed. Our families have always admired their commitment to faith, family, friends and community.

 

Don and Kathy Johannes, Jack and Julie Nimtz posted on 2/4/16

Tom and Mary Hope we're a delight to the Belvidere community. They were always interesting to visit with and shared their experiences with all. Both will be greatly missed. Our families have always admired their commitment to faith, family, friends and community.

 

Laura Guerin-Hunt posted on 2/3/16

Dr. Ferrara gave me my first pair of glasses, and one of my dearsest friends, Marirose. Thom and Mari-Hope were wonderful people, and are a real loss to Belvidere. My deepest condolences to the entire family, especially Marirose, Hope and Carina. God bless him, may he rest in peace, Laura and Roy Hunt.

 

Kirchmeyer Family posted on 2/3/16

We were saddened to hear about the passing of Tom. Tom blessed us with many special memories none more memorable than the time we were visiting the National Christmas Tree in Washington DC with Tom and the Snively Family. Tom started singing "God Bless America" we all joined in. To Tom it was simply a natural thing to do at that moment, to us he created a wonderful life lasting memory. You are our SUNSHINE!

 

Jennifer Diamond posted on 2/3/16

The Ferrara Family, I learned of your dad's passing today. I am so sorry for your family's loss. Your parents played such an integral role in my life. There have been many times I wonder how my life would have been different without their influence. I don't believe I would have finished college without their encouragement (and sometimes a swift kick), which I needed. Your dad took me under his wing when I needed guidance the most. He had an unbelievable amount of patience and was a natural teacher. He also made me realize age was just number. I was inspired by his athleticism and willingness to try something new. He had a sense of humor and an ease around all people. Besides the knowledge, the best thing about my time at Family Optical was the relationship I experienced with your parents. I feel blessed to have known your dad.

 

Sherri L. Thorsen posted on 2/3/16

There are far too many memories for me to chose only one....I am forever honored by his presence in my life...le mie preghiere piu amorevoli sono con tutti voi, che Dio vi benedica

 

Julie Maring Dreixler and Family posted on 2/8/16

Our deepest sympathies to Karen and the Ferrera Family. Tom was a fantastic neighbor to my mom--both he and Karen were always that ray of sunshine stopping by for coffee, a chat or a song. Tom had a fabulous spirit about him! He was also very supportive to me and my siblings as we dealt with my mom's illness and then the subsequent sale of her home. Tom was a great, caring man and will be missed. I am sure he is singing to Billie in heaven now!

 

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