Saturday, September 16, 2023

Hank and Bill Ferrer

Hank and Bill Ferrer were a big influence on many St. Tammany residents, as they were both principals at Covington and Mandeville area schools, and they were both quite active in saving the environment of the parish as it faced the challenges of growth. They died about five years ago, just seven weeks apart. Both are missed greatly, remembered for their many contributions to the community. 

Henri "Hank" Ferrer was a well known personality in St. Tammany schools and in area sportsman organizations as well. Hank was born on December 13, 1927, in New Orleans, the son of Alexander L. Ferrer and Mary Lenfant Fortier Ferrer. He died at 90 years of age on Sunday, February 18, 2018, at his home near Covington. 

According to his obituary, he was a member of the St. Tammany Sportsman League, Louisiana Retired Teachers Association and had served in the Louisiana National Guard for 28 years. 

Hank is kneeling at the bottom left in this 1995 picture of a group of retired teachers.

They both attended the Coach Hubie Gallagher Gym Dedication in 2013

Hank Ferrer in 2015

Hank attended Lyon High School in 1945 and went on to LSU. His educational career started at Mandeville High School in 1950, and he later served as principal of  the school in Bush.

Click on the newspaper articles to make them larger and more readable. 

Speaking at a March, 1973, public hearing on boat launches.

Ferrer was frequently spotlighted in the Richard Rodriguez 
newspaper column published in the News Banner. 

Gayle Sloan, former superintendent of schools in St. Tammany Parish, said of Ferrer after his passing, "Mr. Ferrer was a role model as a teacher and coach to all of us who attended Mandeville High School when he was an educator there. He was also a friend, making each of us feel that he truly cared about our welfare and our future. Although I didn't know it then, he was setting a high standard for how I would view the role of educator as I entered the profession myself. I appreciate the many lessons I learned from watching him do a great job. His loss is a big one to his family and to our community."

Linda Lemons Reid, over on the Mandeville Facebook Page, sad that Hank Ferrer was her favorite teacher ever. 

Bill Ferrer

Hank died 49 days after his brother Bill died. William Joseph "Bill" Ferrer passed away on December 31, 2017, at the age of 85. He was born on March 5, 1932.

Bill had served as principal of Mandeville Elementary School, and his successor, Isabelle Moore, said she felt very fortunate to have her children attend Mandeville Elementary while Bill was principal. "The students loved him. He also left huge shoes for me to try and fill when I became principal from 1997-2007. He would always come back to celebrate the retirements of the faculty he had hired. A great person, principal and friend," she commented.

Many of his former co-workers and students shared their memories of Bill on his obituary page at E. J. Fielding Funeral Home. Click here to read some of them. 

Bill was also an active member of the Sportsman's League

He served as Secretary-Treasurer of the St. Tammany Water District and was a founder, member and past King of the Krewe of Orpheus. During the Korean War he served in the US Army.

Many of his former students recalled his many contributions to the school system in their comments on Facebook. Here are a few of them:

Dee Markey wrote: "I know first hand that Bill knew every one of the students in his school by name." Carmella Comberrel said she knew Bill. "Awesome person. Kids loved him," she recalled. 

Amy Storehalder Soerries said that Bill Ferrer was THE best Principle ever! "I remember him spending time with us students in the hallways, cafeteria and the playground. He didn't spend all of his time in his office."

Rickey Moore stated that Hank, Bill and he started the first St. Tammany Sportsman Club and fishing rodeos.

Melissa McCarthy said that 
Mr. Bill Ferrer was her favorite principal! "Everyone loved him!" Tracy Lynn Bovia remembered that Bill had a good book and if you got to sign it you also got candy of some type.

Suzanne McCarthy Schehr agreed that Bill Ferrer was the best! Webb Williams said that Bill was a terrific guy. "Miss him," he stated. Desiree Willoz Drake noted that her mother and she both loved Mr. Bill Ferrer so much.

Deirdre Richardson Faherty reported that Bill Ferrer was her principal for the first 5 years of her teaching career at Mandeville Elemetary. "He was a wonderful man and taught me so much! I absolutely loved working for him and was so sad when he retired." she said.

Nancy Brossette Ohler said that Bill and her parents grew up together of course. "But what I will never forget was Matthew telling everyone how his principal kissed his grandmother at his kindergarten graduation," she said.

See also:

Sportsman's League History