Don Wilbur Ferrel, man of faith, animal and nature lover, best husband, dad and grandfather ever, died on Monday, November 18, 2013, in Seaside, Oregon. He was the first son born to Fred and Magda Ferrel in Culver City, CA, when orange orchards still dominated the landscape, on Sept 23, 1929. He graduated from Van Nuys High School in 1948. Serving in the Navy during the Korean War as an electronics technician, Don was stationed in Japan, where his sense of adventure led him to remote areas and the top of Mt. Fuji twice. Upon leaving the Navy, Don continued his education at California State Polytechnic College in San Luis Obispo, where he earned a bachelor of science in engineering.
He met his wife Tammy while roller-skating, and impressed her parents with his friendliness and Mercedes Benz. He married her 1.5 years later on April 8th, 1962, at First Baptist Church of Woodland Hills, California.
His love of oceanography later led him to a master's degree from Cal State Long Beach College in marine biology. His research and design in this field earned him an "Excellence in Documentation Award" by the Instrument Society of America for his work in shark tracking telemetry in 1975.
He worked many years for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, CA, and 19 years at Boeing as an electronic engineer in Seattle, WA.
Don was an active member of the churches he attended, including Cannon Beach Community Church. He found teaching 5-year-olds in Sunday school at Bible Baptist in Auburn, WA, especially rewarding. Don formed strong friendships with the many college exchange students that he and Tammy hosted, so much so they treated him with great honor and respect when they traveled to Japan in 2008.
Don thrived in the outdoors, loved nature and had a special kinship with animals. Long walks on the beach, watching the sunset from the Seaside Cove, exploring Death Valley, and mineralogy were among his favorite activities.
Don is survived by his wife Tammy, brother Kenneth Ferrel of Los Alamitos, CA. Three children; Mark Ferrel, of Long Island, NY; Paul Ferrel, of Bainbridge Island, WA; and Christina Aleta Stover, of Seaside, OR, and five grandchildren.
An open memorial service will be held Saturday, November 23, at Cannon Beach Community Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to World Vision www.worldvision.org