Mary Jean Ferris (01/11/1923 - 04/01/2011)

4 entries
  • "Your Christmas parties are a treasured memory of my..."
    - Shep Clarke
  • "Dear Ferris family, Your parents were the closest of..."
  • "Mary Jean was a fond friend of the Irwin family and son..."
    - Phil Irwin
  • "I am already missing Mary Jean's quick wit, wisdom, and..."
    - Ken Beck
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Service Information
Heritage Funeral & Cremation
508 North Government Way
Spokane, WA

Mary Jean
(Age 87)

A lifetime resident of Spokane, died peacefully on April 1, 2011 at Sacred Heart Hospital. She is preceded in death by her late husband of 53 years as well as many beloved family members and lifelong friends. Mary Jean was born April 11, 1923 to Walter and Sara Etta Rosenberry in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho where she joined five older brothers and lived until her high school years. She attended Annie Wright in Tacoma through high school before enrolling and graduating from Mills College in Oakland, California. There she double-majored in government and history and developed many enduring friendships. After her graduation from Mills in 1945 and working in San Francisco for a major outdoor advertising firm, she returned to the Inland Northwest where she met her future and beloved husband Joel E. Ferris II at the wedding of mutual friends. They married in 1948 and together went on to raise five children. Over the years Mary Jean would often be found happily hosting both family and friends in their home and garden through dinner parties, birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings. Mary Jean also partnered with her husband as they established the very popular and long-standing gift and furniture business Joel. Mary Jean and Joel's career in retail not only allowed them to visit many cities, states, and other countries but also gave them the gift of many cherished and collaborative friendships. Mary Jean's keen interest in public service and politics led to her involvement with and leadership in many civic organizations including the Spokane Symphony; the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) where she served as docent and organized the Inland Northwest Timber Group; the Altar Guild of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist; and the Junior League of Spokane, where she served as president and later received the Sustainer of the Year award. Mary Jean is survived by her five children: Joel III (Sara White) of Spokane; Sara Margarethe of Spokane; Sam (Marianne) of Point Richmond, California; Toby of Spokane; and John (Nicole) of San Anselmo, California. Although Mary Jean had to wait until her 70's for grandchildren, she made up for lost time by giving much love to three grandchildren: Austin of Spokane and Isabel and Cecelia of San Anselmo, California. She also leaves behind many well-loved nieces, nephews, neighbors, and friends who will miss her laughter, stories, and conversations. At the request of Mary Jean, there will not be a service. Instead a celebration of her life, including her large family and friends, will be held at her home and garden on a warm spring day, specific time and date to be announced. Placement will be at the Columbarium at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist alongside her husband Joel. Her family is sure that Mary Jean is already sharing with Joel a long-overdue martini and telling the latest news to the numerous family and friends that have gone before her. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) or to Mills College Annual Fund.


Published in Spokesman-Review from Apr. 10 to Apr. 11, 2011
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