JJ Ferry, Founder
Born on the South Side in 1905, James J Ferry was the only child of
Margaret Lavelle Ferry and James H. Ferry, both Irish immigrants.
Jim left Duquesne Prep School at the age of 17, when his father died
suddenly. He went to work in the J&L mill to support his
mother and two other children his parents were raising. There he
learned to be an electrician. At the age of 21, he started his own
electrical contracting firm, Ferry Electric Company.
Married to Edna Reiber Ferry, Jim and Edna raised a family including James R, Jean (Comber) and Janet (Thomas Palumbo). Each of whom went on to raise families of their own.
Jim Ferry spent his entire professional life committed to the
electrical contracting industry. His peers and union leaders, with
whom he worked, elected him for many decades as a Trustee of the
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #5 Pension and
Health Insurance Plans and as a member of the Labor Negotiating
Committee for all union electrical contractors in Western Pennsylvania.
He was past President of the Electric League of Western Pennsylvania and
was selected as its first Man Of The Year in 1978. He was also a
past member of the board of directors of the National Electrical
Contractors Association and the Pittsburgh Builders Exchange, and was an
early member of the Home Builders Association. In 1969 he was
elected to the Academy of Electrical Contracting, honoring the nation's
foremost electrical contractors.
Jim served his community as a director on many boards.
These included Elizabeth Seton High School, Lyman Savings & Loan
Association, Three Rivers Bank and Trust Company, Rosalia Maternity
Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, Jefferson Health Systems and Robert
Morris College. In 1994 he received an Honorary Doctorate Degree
from Robert Morris College for his history as the longest serving
Trustee, of known record, for any Institute of higher learning in the
country. He also received the Duquesne University McAnulty Service
Award, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Joan B. Rodman M.D. Memorial
Award for outstanding overall dedication in the fight against Cystic
Fibrosis. He was a member of the Duquesne Society of
Duquesne University and the Century Club of Distinguished Duquesne
Alumni, South Hills Country Club, Seven Springs Club, the Press Club of
Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Club.
An avid football fan, he was the longest continuous season
ticket holder of record for the Pittsburgh Steelers football club.
His support dated back prior to 1933 when the football club was first
formed as the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Active in the Pittsburgh Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church,
he served for many years on the Bishop's Advisory Council, the Catholic
Institute Of Pittsburgh, the boards of the Catholic Youth Association
and Catholic Social Services. Jim was actively involved with the
former Toner Institute For Boys and the DePaul Institute for the Sensory
Handicapped. He was past President of the Pittsburgh Serra Club
and was founder of the Mission Dinner to support the Pittsburgh Catholic
Missionaries working in Peru. His greatest honor came in
1968 when Pope Paul VI named him a Knight of St. Gregory, the highest
honor bestowed on a layman in the Catholic Church. He was an
active member of St. Germaine Parish in Bethel Park since its founding
and in the forming of St. Germaine Harbor housing for the elderly.