William Ferris

Obituary of William Anthony Ferris

Captain William Anthony Ferris, Bill as everyone knew him, was born on June 28, 1930 in Springfield, Massachusetts, to William and Nessab Ferris. He was the only boy of four other siblings: Yvonne Milewski, Cecile Hewinson, Louise Ferris, and Madeline Ferris. At the age of 17, he entered the Navy, where he had an illustrious and eventful 40 year career as a combat medic, Environmental Specialist, Director of a Medical Research Unit, and a Hospital Medical Administrator. He retired in 1986. During his military career, Bill earned and was awarded 33 medals, which included: several Purple Hearts, several Presidential Medals, and numerous combat medals.  He attended the University of California in Berkley earning degrees in Disease Prevention and Control, Medical Administration, and Leadership.


On June 20, 1953, Bill married the absolute love of his life, Lillian C. Milkie.  He proposed to her by saying, “If you marry me, I will show you the world.”  That is exactly what he did. They lived in 12 different stateside locations, and various duty stations in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.  They had 25 homes in his 40 year military career. For 65 years, Bill loved Lillian with unconditional love. Even with his last breath he wanted Lillian near him. Bill and Lillian had two children: Michael and Louise.


He loved to play golf and even built his own golf clubs.  He loved fishing, woodworking, and traveling the world with his family.  He (along with his wife) organized all of the St. Jude Youth rallies. Bill was also involved in the American Lebanese Association of San Diego.


He is survived by his amazing wife, Lillian Catherine Ferris; his son Michael Ferris and wife Denise; his daughter Louise Ruthenberg; his 8 grandchildren:

Cheryl Castile, Michelle Lowery, Sarah McCovery, David Ferris, Rachel Ruthenberg, Micah Ruthenberg, Catherine Partrich, and Efraim Ruthenberg;

His 12 great-grandchildren: Zachery Heckenberg, Jazmyn McCovery, Ashlyn Mull, Hannah Heckenberg, Malachi Ruthenberg, Emily Castile, Ethan Mull, Nathan Castile, Jonah Ruthenberg, Lillian and Reagan Partrich, and Jacob Lowery; his sister Cecile Hewinson, and nephew David Hewinson.


Bill was a great supporter of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. If you wish to make a donation or contribution to St. Jude’s Hospital in his honor, there are several options for you.

  • Online donations:  www.stjude.org
    • Click on the red “DONATE NOW” box in the upper right corner of the web page
  • Donate by phone: 1-800 805-5856
  • Donate by mail:

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital

501 St. Jude Place

Memphis, TN 38105


The Ferris family invites you to celebrate the life of Bill Ferris. Please, join us in a celebration of his life on April 20th from 1pm to 4pm at

La Miche KABOBGEE - Lebanese Restaurant


9350 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.

San Diego, CA  92123

(858) 565-1165


To send flowers to the family of William Ferris, please visit Tribute Store

Celebration of Life

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Saturday, April 20, 2019
La Miche KABOBGEE Lebanese Restaurant
9350 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, California, United States
(858) 565-1165
Some of Bill’s favorite foods will be served.
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