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John Ferrata Jr. '57 July 22, 2020 11:52 AM updated: July 23, 2020 9:47 AM

Col. John B. Ferrata, Jr.

Col. John B. Ferrata, Jr., born April 25. 1935 in Houston, Texas, took his final flight on July 18, 2020. He lived 85 incredible years. He was the patriarch of the Ferrata Family, the rock upon which we stood. He was a great father, husband, brother, granddaddy, pilot, educator, mentor and "fixer." There was nothing in his life that he would not do for the protection of his family.

John attended St. Thomas High School in Houston, Texas and after graduation in 1953, attended The A&M College of Texas, now known as Texas A&M University, where he received a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was a member of the Aggie Corp of Cadets. John graduated Texas A&M and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force where he began to chase his dream of a career in flying. John received his wings as an Air Force pilot in January 1961 and off he flew.

During his early Air Force career his assignments included living in Quonset huts in Osan, Korea, delivering munitions to troops in the Belgian Congo during the Congo Crisis and, at the impromptu request of a US intelligence officer, transported a plane full of passengers seeking asylum in West Germany. Following these adventures, John then served as an aid to Brig. Gen. Robert J. Goewey, where he was able to gain invaluable insight into the leadership and administration of the US Air Force.

Following his role as a general's aid, John then began his time as an instructor pilot in the military assistance program where he taught Vietnamese pilot candidates how to fly. The role of instructor pilot led him to his next assignment with the 606th Air Commando Wing in Nakon Phanom, Thailand where he served two covert roles, flight instructor to Laotian pilot candidates and reconnaissance and interdiction missions on the Ho Chi Minh trail. He also flew five missions over North Vietnam. John's experiences in Laos are included in the book "Texas Aggies Go to War: In Service of Their Country" by Henry C. Dethloff (2008).

John then became Wing Director of Safety and then Commander of the 86th Military Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, California. While at Travis, John was instrumental in sponsoring Vietnamese refugees in their efforts to start new lives in the United States. During his time at the 86th, John flew supply missions to the research base camp at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Following his time at Travis, John attended the prestigious Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. John's Air Force career culminated with this assignment to the Pentagon in his role as Chief, Airlift Forces Division. John retired from the Air Force in 1980 to attend to the needs of his family. Of John's many medals and awards is the prestigious Distinguished Flying Cross which is awarded to those who offer "heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight."

After his Air Force career, John continued on in the private sector as Director of Administration at the Houston law firms of Sewell & Riggs and Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom (MDJW). Upon his retirement from MDJW, the senior partners, who were so appreciative of all he had done for the firm, named a conference room in his honor, complete with pictures illustrating his life. John held dearly to his heart the friends and colleagues he made during his later career.

John was preceded in death by his parents John B. and Elese Ferrata, his wife Jean Ferrata, his son Greg Ferrata and his grandson Franklin Kyle Ferrata, all of Houston. He is survived by his children John B. Ferrata III and wife Robin, his son Paul D. Ferrata, and wife Nicole, and his daughter Charlotte Ferrata Toney, and husband Ronnie, and his children's mother Friedabelle Ferrata, brother Charles D. Ferrata, and his wife Elena of San Antonio, Texas, 13 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and countless other extended family.

Visitation from the family will be Thursday, July 23, 2020 from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm in The Hunters Creek Chapel at Earthman Funeral Directors, 8303 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas 77024. Rosary will be begin at 10:00 am with a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, 11720 Joan Drive, Houston, Texas 77024. Committal service will follow at 2:30 pm Aggie Field of Honor Cemetery in College Station, Texas.

JUL 23
10:00 AM
Earthman Hunters Creek Funeral Home

JUL 23
06:00 - 09:00 PM
Earthman Hunters Creek Funeral Home

JUL 23
Mass of Christian Burial
11:00 AM
St. Cecilia Catholic Church

JUL 23
02:30 PM
Aggie Field of Honor Cemetery

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