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.

6 thoughts on “

  1. Sarah says:

    Gave me goosebumps Jen. So sorry to hear of his passing. As a horseperson, it always hits close to home when I hear about tragic horseback accidents. So senseless; especially when it happens to such a remarkable person.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I went to the visitation and the outpouring of emotion by what must have been a thousand people (?) was humbling and moving. Lorraine and the rest of the family stood strong for over 4 hours receiving each and every person that came by and waited in line to pay their respects. I can't imagine how hard it was and is for the family. Mom and dad said the funeral services were the same. It really, really, sucks. He was such a good guy, but I don't think he let a single day of his life go to waste. RM

  3. And yet it sounds like he died doing what he loves… riding his horse. Something wonderful about that. Hugs!

  4. Jen says:

    Wow, RM – thanks for the comment. I knew the magnitude of his death would hit countless people and I wondered about the visitation and service. What a great man.

  5. Anonymous says:

    If you want more information, to sign the e-guestbook, etc. you can go to :http://www.caringbridge.org/In the sites field enter 'craigferrell'

  6. Michael says:

    Never met the man… live several timezones away, but a better written, nicer tribute to someone obviously loved and respected, I cannot imagine. We should all lives lives that full!

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