Obituary of Michael J. Ferrara, Esq
Former New Jersey Assemblyman, Bergen County Counsel, Freeholder Counsel and long-time attorney at law passed away on March 1, 2019, after a short illness. A resident of Wyckoff, he was 96 years old.
Throughout his adult life, Michael’s true love and companion was Grace Anne. A former teacher, Grace is as reserved and calm as Michael was passionate; together, they made a dynamic couple. They shared a love story that spanned over seventy years. Their three daughters, Virginia Ferrara (Michael McNamara, deceased), Donna Ferrara (Raymond Carroll) and Lisa Ferrara (Joseph Palmeri), felt the power of such devotion and spread it with their own families. Michael is also survived by his grandchildren Elizabeth Anne McNamara (James Nejmeh), Joseph Michael Palmeri (Christine Dolan) and Brigitte Grace, and three great grandchildren –Joey Palmeri, Grace Nejmeh and James Palmeri.
Born in Union City, NJ, Mr. Ferrara served as a tank driver in World War II, then, after being severely wounded in the line of duty, joined General Eisenhower’s SHAEF staff in Versailles. After the war, he attended New York University, undergraduate and law school. At NYU, he met and married Grace Anne of Queens, NY. The couple moved to Bergen County in 1949, where Mr. Ferrara practice law, in Hackensack and Paramus. He became a mainstay of the Bergen County Republicans, serving as borough attorney in several towns, then New Jersey State Assemblyman, Bergen County Counsel and Counsel to the Bergen County Board of Freeholders. Later, he co-founded and served as Chairman of the Bergen Bank of Commerce.
In addition to his public service, Mr. Ferrara was active in UNICO, an Italian-American charitable association, serving as its National President, the Knights of Columbus and other organizations. While he dabbled in table tennis, ballroom dancing and tennis, he was passionate about golf and videography. As a member of the Ridgewood Country Club, he was the unofficial videographer of the PGA tournaments there, as well as capturing numerous other events and recording travels in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Central America and all over the United States. Many friends cherished his wonderfully produced videos of weddings, birthdays and other events. On a trip to Australia, he seized the chance to replace a missing crew member in a hot air balloon ride, capturing the magnificent scenery in his once-in-a-lifetime ride. More than once, he was welcomed into small weddings in public settings, recording the event and sending the couple a tape with music and credits.
Visiting hours will be 2 – 4 and 7 – 9 on Wednesday at the Vander Plaat Funeral Home, 257 Godwin Ave., Wyckoff, NJ 07481, www.vpfh.com. There will be funeral mass on Thursday 10:00 am at the St. Elizabeth’s RC Church, 700 Wyckoff Ave., Wyckoff, NJ 07481. A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Michael J. Ferrara, Esq. Scholarship, UNICO Hackensack Chapter, PO Box 1527, South Hackensack, NJ 07606.