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Dorothea FERRARA

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Dorathea Lehman Ferrara

VALENCIA, CA – Dorathea Lehman Ferrara, 94, passed away May 27, 2014, at home due to complications of Parkinson's disease. She was born Oct. 5, 1919, in Perry County, Ind., the daughter of William C. and Dorathea (Herman) Lehman. Dorathea married Gennaro "Jerry" Ferrara in Chevy Chase, Md., on Oct. 2, 1948. He preceded her in death in 2007.

She was preceded in death by her mother and brother, William, who died tragically in a house fire at the family's lake home, Lake Bill-Va-Dor, in Cannelton, Ind., on Dec. 7, 1936. Later, she was also preceded in death by her father and her sister, Virginia.

Dorathea was proud of her roots in Cannelton. She was valedictorian of her Cannelton High School class of 1937 and played the bassoon and saxophone in the school band. Her father was president of the Lehman Company of America, a children's furniture manufacturing company in Cannelton owned by her father and his brothers. A point of pride was that they kept the company open through the Depression, enabling the workers to remain employed. The Lehman Company was the first to design and patent the "Babyguard" high chair with the slide-out tray.

She attended MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill. During World War II, she was employed by Republic Aviation in Evansville, Ind.

After the war, she joined her father and stepmother, Bertha Swearingen, in Washington, D.C. She was employed by Aetna Life Insurance Company and attended George Washington University where she met her husband. They settled in the Washington area, living in Springfield, Va., and Bethesda, Md., and raised three children. She returned to work in 1967 as an executive secretary, first at the U.S. Naval Ship Research and Development Center in Cabin John, Md., and then for many years with the In-flight Catering Division of Marriott Corporation. She retired from Dobbs Houses in 1984. She and her husband moved to Valencia, Calif., in 2005.

Dorathea is survived by her daughters, Barbara Ferrara of Springfield, Ill., and Martha Ferrara of Valencia, Calif., and by her son, William Ferrara of Noble, Okla. She is also survived by her niece, Dr. Anne Groves Nepo of Delmar, N.Y.

Huber Funeral Home, Cannelton, Ind., is in charge of arrangements. Graveside service and burial will be in Old Cliff Cemetery, Cannelton, June 7, 2014, with Rev. Steve Bennett officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Cannelton Elementary School Music Program, c/o Mrs. Jane Hayden, Secretary, Taylor Street, Cannelton, IN 47520, or St. John's United Church of Christ, 620 Taylor St., Cannelton, IN 47520.

Published in Print in The State Journal-Register on June 6, 2014
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