MARYSVILLE – Mike Ferri, a retired longtime Marysville postmaster and pillar in the community whose year-round community service with the Kiwanis Club shined brightest during the holidays, passed away on Tuesday.
He was 71.
Ferri died of congestive heart failure after a months-long battle to regain his strength, health and get back on his feet again.
For friends and those in Marysville who worked with Ferri, they called him a kind-hearted and caring leader who went above and beyond in community service, giving selflessly to make the lives of others better, especially youth and families.
City Councilman Tom King served with Ferri for 26 years in the Marysville Kiwanis Club.
“Mike always had the Marysville community in his best interest and it was reflected in his dedication and hard work,” King said.
Parks, Culture and Recreation Director Tara Mizell became friends with Ferri and his wife, Elaine, through the myriad city recreational activities that they and Kiwanis were a part of, as well as through the key role he played in the annual All-City Food and Toy Drive and toy store which Mizell coordinated outside her job.
Ferri over the past 15 years oversaw the Marysville Community Food Bank’s 100 red barrels placed at stores, businesses and offices around town to collect food and toys during the holiday months for families in need. He also served on the toy store’s executive board.
Through Kiwanis, he helped organize and participate in some of the parks department’s most popular community events, including the annual Youth Fishing Derby and Pancake Breakfast at Kiwanis Pond in Jenning Park, the Father-Daughter Valentines Dances, Mother-Son Superhero Dances, providing popcorn for the Popcorn in the Park summer outdoor movie series, and food at Touch-A-Truck and the Merrysville for the Holidays winter celebration, among other venues.
Mayor Jon Nehring honored the Ferris as Volunteers of the Month in 2013 for their contributions. In 2018, Ferri was presented with the Kiwanian of the Year Award for all his hard work and contributions, and inducted into the Kiwanis Legion of Honor in 2018 for 35 years of distinguished service.
Mizell said Mike will be deeply missed.
“He left an incredible legacy of giving back to the community and its young people,” she said. “He was a thoughtful and caring man who lived a true life of service. He was devoted to his family. His passing will leave a huge void in our community but his mentoring of so many will keep his spirit alive in Marysville.”
Michael Sam Ferri was born in Dec. 22, 1947 in Yakima to the late Luciana del Rosso Ferri and the late Salvador “Sam” Louis Ferri. Mike attended Marquette High School in Yakima and Central Washington University in Ellensburg.
He and his wife, Elaine were married for 38 years. Quite a feat, she said, considering that they met on a blind date. When they married, the childless Mike became an instant father to Tracie, Trina and Tiffany.
Ferri retired as postmaster in Marysville in 2004 after 36 years.
He also served on the city’s Civil Service Commission, and both were active in the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
Mike was passionate about Italian food, wisdom, travel and music. His mother was an opera singer, and that evolved his love for Rossini. But he collected all types of music, from Frank Sinatra to The Beatles and Chicago. Lifetime memories include seeing Sinatra perform live in Las Vegas, and a trip to Italy to visit his ancestral homeland in Tuscany.
Mike is survived by his beloved wife, Elaine; brothers John (Kathy) Ferri of Mattawa, Tony (Brenda) Ferri of Yakima; daughters Tracie (Rick) Wurlitzer of Bellevue, Trina (Chris) Wagenblast of Newcastle and Tiffany Gentry in New York; grandchildren Chelsea and Braden Wurlitzer in California, Hannah and Rachel Wagenblast in Newcastle; nieces Luciana and Serafina Ferri of Yakima, Anna Puchany in Oregon and extended family whom he loved deeply.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish may donate in Michael’s name to the Marysville Kiwanis Foundation Those who wish may donate in Michael’s name to the Kiwanis Club Foundation of Marysville, P.O. Box 101, Marysville, WA 98270.
A memorial service honoring Mike will be held at 2 p.m. Dec. 27 in Yakima at the Keith and Keith Funeral Home, 902 W. Yakima Ave. A celebration of life will be held in Marysville at a later date in spring.