Charlie Ferris, 84, left us Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, in Cape Coral. She was surrounded by many friends and her loved ones: her husband of 61 years, Robert Stone "Bob" Ferris; her son, Stone Ferris, and his wife, Sandy; her daughter, Sunny Sauer; her daughter, Robin Wilder; and her grandson, Robbie Wilder.
She was born in the tidewater town of Elizabeth City, N.C., March 16, 1930. She was the daughter of Lemuel Showell Blades Jr. and Eliza Laughinghouse Blades. She was the sister of Lemuel Showell Blades III.
She attended Fairfax Academy Prep School in Virginia and Peace College in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area. In 1952 she came out as a debutante in Elizabeth City Society. That same year she met Bob on a blind date. They married Jan. 31, 1953.
She is survived by her husband and her five children of that union: Stephen Matthew Ferris, Mary Theresa Wilkerson, Mary Blades Sutherland Sauer, Mary Robin Wilder and Robert Stone Ferris Jr.; her 13 grandchildren, Aaron, "Val," "Kit," "Jamie," "Denny," "Danny," "Katie," Amanda, "Nick," "Robbie," Morgan, Skyler and "Max;" and great-grandchildren, Anthony and Kara.
After their wedding, Charlie and Bob moved to San Francisco. They then moved to Fairfax, Calif., and San Anselmo, Calif., a few years later for the first leg of the raising of their family. During this period, she was a pioneer in the movement to replace the synthetic nurturing of children through artificial baby formula with natural breastfeeding as a leader in the Martin County "La Leche League."
In 1973, she pulled up her family's roots, as the Ferrises moved to an olive ranch and the soon-to-be-named street of Sevillano Lane in Corning, Calif. They spent the next 30 years there raising olives, cows and kids. In Corning, she became an educator in AIDS awareness and gave lectures in surrounding areas. She was also president of the Women's League and was the musical director of the Corning Roman Catholic Church for a decade.
She and Bob moved briefly to Redding, Calif., but they could no longer restrain their itchy feet. They first spent months trailering across Canada and the U.S. Then she and Bob spent a year circumnavigating the planet on the Queen Elizabeth II.
After a stint battling cancer, she passed quietly in the night.
There will be service Saturday, Aug. 23, at St. Andrew Catholic Church, 2628 Del Prado Blvd., Cape Coral, at noon.
The family requests that, rather than flowers, any gifts be made in the form of donations to the American Cancer Society.