Dr. Joseph Michael Ferrara has died in Colorado. The youngest of five children, Joe was born on April 11, 1946 to Philomena (Gesue) Ferrara and Ovidio Dante Ferrara. A first generation Italian-American, Joe's father had immigrated to the United States in 1907 from the beautiful Abruzzi Apennines mountains and the ski village of Rivisondoli, Italy. The Ferrara family settled in Kent, Ohio and became well-known in the community for their gracious spirit and family owned and operated grocery store established in 1915.
Joe attended St. Patrick's Parish School through 8th grade, and later graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1964. His popularity as a friend, athlete, and student was a result of having four older siblings and role models - Carmela, Emilio, Diana, and Paul - and later his brother-in-law, Richard Mostardi. The close-knit Italian-Catholic family was raised on exceptional values, good manners, hard work, much love and religious faith.
Joe left home for the first time to pursue a bachelor's degree at The Ohio State University. Before having the support of his family to attend medical school, he took a sojourn to New York City to clerk and model at Paul Stuart. In 1970, his long-time dream took Joe to Guadalajara, Mexico, where he not only finished his degree at Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara in 1974, but he also met his future wife, Dian Danvers, through mutual friends. Together, they began their family in Westfield, New Jersey where daughter Marisa Carmela and son Ragan Michael were born during his residency through Rutgers University at Muhlenberg Hospital to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. He believed this to be the most rewarding and "happy" field of medicine.
Family lured Joe back to Kent in 1979 to join an established OB/GYN practice. He later opened his own practice in the Ferrara office building across from his childhood home, and later at Western Reserve Surgical Center as a founding board member. He was particularly fond of being awarded Teacher of the Year at Akron General Hospital in the mid-1990s. After 17 years as a dedicated physician, his father gave his blessing for Joe to share his expertise in Vail, CO - a place in which he and his family were drawn to for many years.
A forward thinker with a thirst for life, Joe along with Dian built their dream home in Edwards, CO. Thereafter, Joe joined the Vail Valley Medical Center and continued what he did best - providing exceptional care with an unrivaled bed-side manner to women and mothers with their newborns. For another 17 years, Joe and his family embraced the Colorado lifestyle - skiing, snowshoeing, biking, golf, tennis - and the sense of community inherent in a culturally rich, yet friendly mountain valley. Like in Ohio, Joe formed a legacy his children and grandchildren can always be proud of.
A private mass and memorial service was held in late July at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Italian Catholic church in Denver, Colorado to honor his rich life, one of loyalty, compassion, faith, and integrity. He will be greatly missed by family and many friends. Donations can be made to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 3549 Navajo St., Denver, CO 80211.