Mrs. Mary Barry Ferrante, 104, of Ellwood City, passed away in her sleep on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at Abbotts Creek Center, Lexington, North Carolina.
Mary was born in Butler County, Pennsylvania on September 22, 1915 to the late James Lee Barry and Loretta Vita Barry Giardine. Mary was also the loving step-daughter of the late Cecil (Cesare) Giardine. Mary was a member of Lincoln High School, class of 1933, and the Holy Redeemer Parish. She married the late Dominic Ferrante on August 27, 1936. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great grandmother who enjoyed spending time with her family and volunteering.
Mrs. Ferrante is survived by her daughter-in-law, Barbara Ferrante (Las Vegas, NV); seven grandchildren, Mary (Jeff) Bryant of High Point, NC; Amy (Lou) Coleman of Clifton, VA; Rebekah (Troy) Travis of Cincinnati, OH; John Durr of Ridgecrest, CA; Loretta Rosinko of Atlanta, GA; Domenic (Stacey) Durr of Sebastian, FL; and Melissa Ferrante of Las Vegas, NV; fourteen great-grandchildren, Lesley (Michael) George, Kathryn (Tyler) Sepe, Chris Coleman, Dominic Travis, Rachel Travis, Kersti Kodas, Megan Rosinko, Zachary Rosinko, Isabella Rosinko, Emma-Grace Rosinko, Correy (Samantha) Ferrante, Kenny Jackson, Kenisha Jackson, Deion Jackson; and four great, great-grandchildren, Makayla George, Yana-Leigh George, Vera George, and Jonathan Sepe.
She was preceded in death by her parents and step-father; her husband, who passed away on December 3, 2004; her brothers, Tony and Sam Barry; her sister, Josephine DeCecio; her stepsister, Joan Fotia; her stepbrother, David Giardine; and her children, Marlene Ferrante Durr and Richard Ferrante.
Mary was well known for her volunteer and civic accomplishments, and her contributions to the community have had a lasting impact on Ellwood City. Below are some of her self-less acts that spanned her life-time:
Mary joined the hospital auxiliary in 1951 and was elected treasurer of the gift shop from 1953 through 1993. She was assistant manager of the gift shop, 1959 through 1974, the year we moved to our present hospital. Mary also served every office in the auxiliary. She served on various committees including Donation days 1954 through 1958 – driving Girl Scouts to collect canned food for the two hospitals.
Mary was elected president 1960 through 1962 and was the first president to serve two years. Her first priority when she took office was to have good ambulance service in Ellwood. She signed and gave a letter to R.J. Schill on February 13, 1961, urging council to vote on the need of this service. The ambulance service was adopted February 15, 1961. Many phone calls were made to support and encourage membership in the Ambulance Service Incorporated. The first hobby show was held in Ellwood on April 13-14, 1961 at the Catholic Center.
The first House and Garden Tour was held in Ellwood City on October 19, 1962. Mary served on two cookbook committees in 1984 and 1991. She was a volunteer and a chairman of Kindergarten Eye Screening 1996 through 2001. Mary was chairman and co-chairman of Ways and Means and on social committees many times.
Mary attended Penn State workshops in 1958, 1961 and 1962. She was elected parliamentarian of the North Western District of the Auxiliaries 1965-1966. She represented the auxiliary honoring Miss Mable Barron at the Middle Atlantic Assembly Convention in Atlantic City, May 21-26, 1962. Miss Barron was elected president that year. Mary was one of the first three members to receive a 500 hour pin in one year and one of the first five members to be trained as escorts by Miss Barron in 1957.
Dr. Joseph Molnar from Detroit, Michigan, a syndicated daily writer and radio speaker, was the guest speaker at a public meeting held at Walnut Ridge School on March 13, 1961. His coming was highly publicized and there was a very large turnout, including the news media, Dr. Helling, Mr. Schill, board members, auxiliary members and the public. He answered questions, and was a great honor to have him speak in our community.
Mary’s name and telephone number were posted at the gift shop for volunteers who needed help, food or change from the money box. She received a certificate for a year of outstanding accomplishments – 515 hours in one year – June 16, 1977.
She transported the librarian to and from the hospital and enjoyed helping a patient to choose a book to read. The auxiliary in 1961, voted to give a rose to all mothers in the general hospital on Mother’s Day. Had a tour of the Lutheran Home for Children on May 8, 1961, followed by a meeting in Zelienople. Dr. Sieberling conducted the tour.
On May 10, 1961, Mary was the first president to honor 28 representatives with a very special tea in their honor and a certificate of appreciation. It is now an annual tradition. During her presidency in 1961, the hospital dedicated its 40th year to the auxiliary. Mary’s picture was taken in front of the general hospital and appeared in the board’s annual report. She was honored by receiving “This is Your Life in the Hospital Auxiliary” Award and a certificate for faithful service June 9, 1975, presented by Mrs. J.K. Painter at a luncheon.
She toured Jamison Hospital in New Castle on May 14, 1962, and held a meeting and election of new officers. Attended a cooking demonstration and a meeting held at Manufacturer’s Light and Heat Company on Fifth Street on October 19, 1962.
Mary joined Girl Scouts in 1950, as Brownie Troup leader #20, at West End School. She was elected in 1952 to the Girl Scout Board. She met Lady Baden Powell, visiting Ellwood City during Girl Scout Week, who spoke to parents and scouts at Lincoln Auditorium on March 13, 1952.
To obtain half of the borough building, Girl Scout board members contacted council members and attended council meetings; and in 1952 were given half of the building. Improvements were made and at the dedication in March 1953, the building was named Treefoil Lodge.
Mary was elected Brownie supervisor, organizing many Brownie Scout troops in local and surrounding areas.
She was the first leader to hike the Appalachian Trail with six senior girls on August 2-5, 1954; starting at Big Flat Fire Tower from Shippengurg to Caladnia State Park. She attended a Girl Scout Region 3 conference on October 24-27, 1954, in Washington D.C. with three board members. She collected white material for cadets earning their service badge making cancer dressings. She was one of 3 leaders, 14 cadets and seniors scouts who left by bus for Rockwood, Maryland for “A Girl Scout National Camp” and Washington D.C. for one week in 1957.
Mary was one of two leaders who trained 8 senior scouts over a year, left for “Girl Scout Round-up” in Colorado Springs, Colorado June 17-30, 1957. Scouts from all over the US attended this round-up.
Leader of the Trail Blazer Program, where enjoying the outdoors and winter camping and surviving from 1962-1963 were taught. The five seniors camped at Stamm’s Hallow and Treefoil Lodge with their two leaders. She also trained 9 scouts for the Idaho Round-Up in 1965.
Mary was a camp unit leader at Camp AGAWM (camp name “Nippy”). She attended camps at Camp Brashur, Camp Ewing Park, Camp Careondowanna and Camp Fombelina. She was camping director and assistant camp director of Day camp many years. She was leader of all ages of Girl Scouts and taught crafts, fire building, outdoor cooking, flag ceremony, lashing and star gazing.
On October 9, 1968, National cancelled Girl Scout charter. The year 1969 was the last of the Girl Scouts in Ellwood.
She attended workshops with Reva Groden and Judy Emig in Beaver, New Castle and Beaver Falls. Many morning and evening meetings were held in their homes, with scouts and Katie Elles, director.
Mary received the highest award in scouting, the “Thanks Badge,” and a “Friendship Tie” from Flo Carr, on October 5, 1975. Very few have received this honor.
She was Ellwood chairman for the “Honey Bear Holiday.” Girl Scouts of all ages and troops, from local and surrounding areas, were represented on June 8, 1985.
“Girl Scout Thinking Day,” February 21, 1987, was held at Presbyterian Church in Beaver Falls, and was planned by the Jubilee Committee to fulfill community service projects. “Cancer Service,” one of the projects for seniors and cadets and taught by Mary, produced 158 flat dressings and 157 rolled bandages.
In 1987, Mary was given a Gold Bronze Award by Beaver-Castle Girl Scouts. On July 22, 1988, she was recognized for achievements in scouting and received an award. With the help of cadets, she decorated the Post Office during Christmas time, including a tree in December of 1982-1983. She was chairman of the Ellwood Planning Committee celebrating 75 years of Girl Scouts, which was held in Ewing Park. She was community relation chairman for the first “Volkmarch” held on May 5, 1992 in Ellwood for all families and scouts. As Leader Junior Troop #524 who made set-upons and cookies for the McQuire Home and Easter baskets filled with soft candy and cookies for the Blair Home.
Mary received her 55 year pin in Girl Scouts at a meeting in Beaver Falls, presented to her by Linda Helm, President of Girl Scouts Council. Mary spoke to the scouts, and on leaving she was given a rose and a box of candy by the scouts.
Mary was always ready to help anyone in need. She was always smiling and saying “God made a beautiful world, His gift to us.” She was quiet and soft spoken, rather shy. As president, she would end her meeting with, “God loves you and have a safe trip home.”
Mary was a cancer society volunteer since 1948, when cancer was considered “that bad sickness.” She attended meetings with Joyce Conner. Met Margaret Waldo, executive, and became a board member in 1950. Helped raise funds for cancer by holding card parties, tag days and placed coin boxes in the business areas. In 1965, a cancer film was being shown at the Majestic Theater for all women, and the line of women started on 5th street and turned right on Lawrence Avenue to the theater. After the film a doctor answered questions.
Mary taught numerous church groups, organizations and individuals in making cancer dressings. She also brought a projector, films and literature to organizations and meetings, always making sure that there was a doctor present to speak. “We were all learning.” In 1964 her sun porch became a pick-up place for cell cotton, films, literature for the schools and general public, and cytology smear for doctors. Every Monday morning she picked up cytology smear bottles from all the doctors’ offices and left alcohol solution bottles, calling it her “blessed Monday.” Mary was chairman of transportation and of the national smoking survey studies 1 and 2, following up every 5 years. Mary introduced Buck Boards in the area with Sam Teolis being the first volunteer.
Mary was house to house chairman for many, many years, using street lists sent to her by the Cancer Society, contacting volunteers from every ward and precinct in Ellwood. Using many, many volunteers from Ellwood, she got kits ready for the drive. Mary represented the cancer board as a voting delegate in Bedford Springs; and in 1975 attended a conference in Harrisburg and in Pittsburgh. She was also a guest on the radio station WKEM from 1979-1980, supporting programs available to the public. She held 3 annual rummage sales and 2 annual book sales at Port’s Empty Store on 8th street and Lawrence Ave. Mary was with the Daffodil sale from the start, getting many volunteers to participate. She also volunteered in the first Relay for Life in New Castle and in Ellwood.
She was chairman of smoke-out week where she presented t-shirts to new born babies at the hospital with the slogan “I’m born smoke free.” Mary remained chairman and co-chairman for many years. Mary received a very special honor, a commendation from Representative Frank LaGrotta for “her many years of volunteering and dedication to the community.” American Cancer Society celebrating 50th Anniversary 8/24/1995, presented Mary with the “Extra Effort Award,” a very high honor with Mary being the only one from the area to have ever received it. November 9,1992, she was honored with a “This is Your Life in Cancer Volunteering” at a cancer dinner held at Troggio’s Restaurant.
On September 11, 1987, Mary along with four other women organized the Cancer Satellite Office during a meeting at her house where they decided an office was needed in Ellwood. At a dinner September 27, 2000 she was presented with a gold sword in a frame award for her “distinguished volunteering and leadership in saving lives from cancer.”
August 22, 2002 “The Mary Ferrante Achievement Award” was created to be given to volunteers in her honor. The award was presented to Melissa Winfield on 11/18/2003 and Muriel Jay 9/16/2004.
In the early days of cancer, sick patients called on Mary and she listened to any who needed someone to talk to, regardless of how long. She laughed, cried and prayed with them.
American Red Cross
Mary joined the American Red Cross during World War 11 making wound dressings to be shipped to U.S. soldiers. She met with 8 to 10 women at the Ellwood Municipal building wearing white kerchiefs bearing the Red Cross symbol in the center as nurses’ caps. Also volunteers during the blood drive serving as a canteen volunteer. Worked closely with the chairman while he was ill and learned much about working the blood drives during this time. At a Red Cross picnic she was elected president of the Red Cross club 6/18/80 through 3/12/91. Mary held meetings, hosted indoor picnics, presented long standing Red Cross members with a gift and extended an invitation to New Castle members. When the present chairman resigned suddenly, Mary knew what to do and was able to keep the blood drives going from her previous experience. She recruited nurses and got volunteers to help set-up; the most difficult part being getting nurses. She was always begging and would laugh as she said “we need help to save lives.” Every blood drive, Mary and her husband would deliver fliers to all the churches and pictures were taken of the volunteers and donors.
Mary kept the blood drives going every time, on time. Much later Denny Schill would thank her for her continued support and appoint her coordinator. She started the blood drives at the Lincoln High School for seniors and also at the Ellwood Hospital, always getting nurses, volunteers and publicity.
“Recognition and Appreciation Day” held at St. Agatha Church hall had 92 ledger clippings dating back from 6/19/67 to 10/21/91 on display all belonging to Mary. Prizes and refreshments were served.
Mazza looks on Elwood “as the gem” of the blood collection program. Mary has received many Red Cross recognition awards for her dedication to the community. The large Red Cross sign was rebuilt in her honor. She accepted the A.R.C. commendation 12/11/91 from Representative Frank LaGratta celebrating the 31st anniversary of Red Cross Blood Bank in Ellwood. Blood drive started 11/29/61 at Elk’s Lodge.
On May 8,2008, Mary was awarded the Edgar Cheely Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. The award is the Greater Alleghenies region’s award for outstanding volunteer service. Ferrante received the award as she had helped sponsor the Ellwood City Community blood drives every 56 days for more than 40 years.
Visitation will be held on Friday from 5-7 pm at the Samuel Teolis Funeral Home and Crematory Inc. A mass of Christian burial will be held on Saturday at 10:00 am at the Holy Redeemer Church with Father Mark Thomas officiating. Interment will be at the Holy Redeemer Cemetery. Those attending the visitation and mass are asked to wear a mask and practice social distancing.