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José Lomelino Alves Ferro passed away on Saturday, August 30, 2014. He was 93 years old. The devoted husband for sixty-six years of the late Alice C. (Camacho) Ferro, whom he adored, he was also a loving and dedicated father and grandfather. A devout Catholic, José attended Mass daily with his wife. Together they also prayed the rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy twice each day. José also had a special devotion to St. Anthony and St. Jude. José was the second child and son of Maria Conceição (Piedade Fernandes) and Jacintho Alves Ferro. Born and raised in New Bedford, he was educated in New Bedford Public Schools and attended Fitchburg State College. He moved to Dartmouth when his young, widowed mother bought the Willow Tree Dairy and then worked in the family business for many years. Bright, ambitious, and determined, José was an achiever and proficient in the trades becoming a licensed air conditioning and refrigeration technician, a licensed electrician, a licensed gas fitter, a licensed pipe fitter and a certified vocational teacher. José was also a certified member of the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society. He was previously employed by Berkshire Hathaway, Fernandes Supermarkets, Parkwood Hospital, and also taught basic electricity at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School. José was a World War II Navy veteran having served as a first class petty officer while stationed in Puerto Rico, the second largest ammunition dump in the world at that time. Additionally, José was a talented and gifted musician. He mastered the bass fiddle and was an accomplished classical guitarist. In his youth, he also played the saxophone and clarinet. A member of the American Federation of Musicians Local 214, he also served on the Treasury Board. José was musically versatile and diverse as shown in the groups he chose to participate in. He was one of the founding members of the Tri-County Regional Symphonic Band in which he played with three of his musician brothers, Anibal, Gilbert, and Jacintho. He was also a member of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, and felt privileged to have played under a number of distinguished conductors including guest conductor, Arthur Fiedler of the BSO. José also performed in The “Tuna Zarca” String Orchestra, The Portugal-America Band, The Francisco Oliveira Portuguese Hour Orchestra, The Vagabond Trio, The Harry Johnson Symphonic Orchestra, The Joe Ponte Orchestra, and in various marching bands throughout the city. Proud of his Portuguese Madeiran heritage, he was honored to be invited to play with the S. S. Sacramento Folklore Group and traveled with them to Madeira to perform. Informally, he found great pleasure and especially loved to play and sing with his brothers and sisters at family gatherings and in their Christmas “ranchinhos”, and also enjoyed playing impromptu with his two cousins, Margaret and Tony Piedade. But of all his musical accomplishments, the one he most cherished and loved was playing alongside his brother, Gilly, for fifteen years with his band, The Gilly Ferro Orchestra. In recognition of his personal dedication and loyal service to the Church in the Fall River Diocese, José was humbled when chosen as the recipient of the Marian Medal in 2002. A communicant of O. L. of Mt. Carmel Church, he was a Eucharistic Minister, served on both the Finance Committee and Renovation Committee, and was a member and treasurer of the St. Vincent de Paul Society for over forty years. Acknowledging his commitment to the poor, he was also honored that same year by the SVP New Bedford District Council with the Top Hat Award. José was also a longtime member of the O. L. of the Angels Catholic Association, a charitable and religious organization, and received their appreciation award in 2004 for over twenty years of dedicated service. Also a volunteer at the Market Ministries Soup Kitchen, where he and his wife helped to establish a full hot meal program, he was chosen in 2007 as one of the first recipients of the Market Ministries’ Reverend Edward Holleran O. F. M. Volunteer Award for his endless efforts in helping to feed the hungry. On his 91st birthday in 2012, José was honored by the Club Madeirense S. S. Sacramento Inc. with their Lifetime Achievement Award in commemoration of his influence in keeping alive the heritage, culture and religious beliefs of all Madeirans. He served three times as a “festeiro” for the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament in 1939, 1958, and in 1966. José was also a member of the Club Sport Madeirense Inc., was a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus- Bishop Cassidy Assembly, and a member of the Mt. Carmel Seniors. He is survived by his nine children and nine grandchildren: Rosemary L. Ferro of South Dartmouth; Gerard M. Ferro of Homosassa Springs, FL and his daughter, Sarah R. Ferro of South Dartmouth; Cecilia Olsen and her children, Ashley N. Olsen and Derreck S. Olsen of Mesa, Arizona; Cynthia Simerly and her husband, Dennis W. of Tigard, Oregon and their daughter, Della Alice Simerly of Portland, Oregon; Paula M. Stenger and her husband, Gerhard W. and their children, Andrew G. F. Stenger and Olivia C. F. Stenger of West Roxbury; José L. A. Ferro Jr. and his wife, Pamela J. and their children, Marcus D. Ferro and Isaiah J. Ferro of Fairhaven; Jacinto A. Ferro of New Bedford and his daughter, Kristen M. Ferro of South Dartmouth; Maryann Ferro of New Bedford; and Angelica Ferro of South Dartmouth; one brother, George M. Ferro and his wife, Norma of Mansfield, and three sisters, Margaret M. Alves of South Dartmouth, Sister Cecilia E. Ferro S. S. D. and Sister Mary I. Ferro, S. S. D. of Staten Island, New York; four sisters-in-law, Dolores Ferro, Elsie Ferro, and Frances Ferro of Dartmouth, and Dorothy Ferro of Cape Coral, Florida; several godchildren, many nieces and nephews, and many grandnieces and grandnephews. He was the father-in-law of the late Charles R. Olsen and Kenneth H. Thunert Jr., the brother of the late Anibal P. Ferro, Jacintho S. Ferro, Gilbert B. Ferro, Paul O. Ferro, John E. Ferro, and Noe L. Ferro; and brother-in-law of the late Jennie Ferro, Vivian Ferro, and Carl Alves. His funeral Mass will be held on Friday, September 5, 2014 at 10:30 am at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 230 Bonney Street, New Bedford, MA. Burial at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Route 6 GAR Highway, New Bedford, MA. Visiting hours are Thursday, September 4, 2014 from 3 to 7pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of José to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, c/o Mt. Carmel Church, 238 Bonney Street, New Bedford, MA 02740.
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