When I was around 14 years old, my Dad introduced me the gentleman above. My Dad was looking for an Orthopedic surgeon, and his search led him to Dr. Craig Ferrell. Dr. Ferrell lived in our neighborhood and was a popular neighbor and friend to the community. He mentioned to my Father that he and his wife were looking for a stablehand to tend to their horses on a daily basis. “I know just the gal for ya”, Dad told the good Doctor, and just like that, I landed my first job. I worked for Doctor Ferrell at his home every day after school. My love for horses was quickly overshadowed by just how much hard work is involved when you own them. Well played, Dad.
I would also occasionally take care of his entire barn while he and his wife traveled for business or went on vacation. He paid me $5 an hour and for the time, that was darn good money for a kid back then.
Many evenings I would come home and my Mother would make me undress on the back porch because I reeked of sweat and manure. I’d have hay in my hair and dust covering my neck and shoulders. Doc taught me how to use a manure spreader. I could barely drive a car with my petite stature but Dr. Ferrell showed me how to put that tractor in gear and hit the field with a full load and spray that shit (literally) everywhere.
He was warm and compassionate. He loved his patients and often would give them his home phone number. I know this because I would also babysit for Dr. Ferrell’s two children, Aaron and Jon. I worked for the good Doctor for five years until it was time for me to leave for college. I’ve kept up with him over the years and he took the time to reach out to me in sympathy after my Father’s death.
He was what a Doctor should be and he was a natural. He genuinely loved caring for people and helping them heal. He always made you feel that you were the most important person on his radar. He treated some of the greatest Olympic athletes but he always had time for yours truly, a scrappy sweaty gal that smelled like poop most of the time.
I could go on and on. Beloved isn’t a word I use very much but it certainly applies here. Dr. Ferrell was beloved. He touched countless lives with his expertise, his humor, his kindness and his integrity.
Dr. Ferrell passed away on Monday from injuries sustained from a horseback riding accident. As I learned this information tears filled my eyes and my heart sank. My stomach lurched in disbelief. How could something so terrible and tragic happen to someone so exceptional and extraordinary? This morning when I awoke I tried to convince myself it was all a terrible misunderstanding, or perhaps a nightmare. My heart hurts.
A worldwide community has truly lost one of the best, but I know my Dad will be glad to see him. Godspeed, Dr. Ferrell.