In memory of
John Bruce Fery
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In memory of
John Bruce Fery
1930 ~ 2017 John B. Fery was born in Bellingham, Washington, to Margaret and Carl Fery on February 16, 1930. John passed away in Rancho Mirage, California, surrounded by his wife Dee and other members of his loving family, on February 11, 2017 from complications of acute leukemia. John's journey took him from challenging early years as a latchkey kid with a working mom to remarkable lifetime accomplishments. He loved God, his family, his community, and his country. He loved the outdoors, sunshine, and John Wayne. He had a zest for life and a work ethic that was incomparable, while his commanding presence, charming smile, and quick-witted humor made him adored by family and friends. He was captivated by the joys of family life, the challenges of business, the warmth of friendships, the satisfaction of philanthropic work, and the stories each brought to his life. John spent his first few years with his mother and father in the logging town of Everett, Washington. When his father became ill, the family moved to the San Juan Islands in hopes that Nature would have a beneficial effect. Eventually, John and his mother bravely moved to Seattle, where John started third grade and a new life, making friends that remained close into their 80s. As a young man who grew up without the constant presence of a father, John was blessed to find the YMCA, whose mentors instilled values in John that he passed on to his children and grandchildren. The YMCA was so important to John that he wanted to share his experience with others who might benefit from the values, bonds, and outdoor experiences that shaped his youth. To this day, young Idahoans are living a dream each summer at the Y Horsethief camp in Cascade, Idaho, thanks largely to John and Dee's generosity, vision and John's ability to raise funds. After graduating from Roosevelt High School in Seattle, John enrolled in the University of Washington in 1948 and took the campus by storm, becoming both Freshman and Sophomore Class President. More importantly, he met the Dream Girl of Pi Kappa Alpha, Delores (Dee) Carlo, in freshman English class. They proceeded to date during college, and endured a long-distance engagement while John was overseas with the Navy during the Korean War. After John returned, he and Dee married in 1953 and set off for California, where John attended Stanford University for his MBA. Upon completion, John joined the Oregon paper company Western Kraft, with Bob Hansberger as his mentor. It wasn't long before the business duo headed for Idaho to spearhead the transformation of the Boise Payette Lumber Company into Boise Cascade Corporation in 1957. With hard work and determination, John built the company's paper business and moved up the leadership ranks as the company grew in business scope and stature. He became President and Chief Executive Officer in 1972, and Chairman of the Board in 1978, remaining at the helm for 23 years until his retirement in 1995. Throughout John's 37-year tenure at Boise Cascade, he played a key role in making the company a global force in wood products manufacturing and distribution, paper and paper products manufacturing, and office products distribution. John's business acumen was highly regarded. He served on the Board of Directors for Boeing, Hewlett-Packard, U.S. Bank, Albertson's and Union Pacific Railroad and was a member of the Business Council, a prestigious national organization of CEOs. He received honorary doctorate degrees from Gonzaga University and the University of Idaho. In 1980, John was given the esteemed Stanford University Graduate School of Business Arbuckle Award. Despite his demanding business schedule, John never lost his focus on family life. John and Dee raised their three sons Brent, Bruce, and Michael in Boise, and enjoyed great times skiing, hiking, and fishing in Sun Valley, especially at Loving Creek Ranch. John's pride in his family grew as his sons married, creating three new couples for the family fold: first Bruce and Monica, then Mike and Patty, and Brent and Sandy. Over time, six grandchildren were welcomed and were the joy of John's life. Retirement didn't slow John down, as he and Dee enjoyed more time with grandchildren and dear friends from Seattle, Palm Springs, Sun Valley, and Boise. John embraced golf in the desert, was still actively engaged in philanthropy, and served as president of the Thunderbird Club, where he and Dee spent their winters. For those who knew John, his engaging spirit will forever be etched on their hearts. For those who did not, they can find his fingerprints etched on an expansive community. Whether attending the new Horsethief Reservoir Y Camp in Cascade, Idaho, learning about Birds of Prey at the World Center, enjoying the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and the park that he and Dee donated, attending Medical School through the WWAMI program which John helped found as a means of training physicians for Idaho, staying at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center where John chaired the board and established its Foundation, receiving a grant from the Idaho Community Foundation, which exists today due to John's leadership in its formation and growth, or receiving a scholarship to Boise's Bishop Kelly High School, the University of Idaho, or Stanford, people will have experiences made possible by John and Dee's vision and generosity. While business and philanthropy were of enormous value to John, nothing could compare to his love for family. In his final days he said that of all of his accomplishments, he is most proud of his three sons and the families they have created. John is survived by his wife of 63 years, Delores C. Fery; sons Brent, Bruce, and Michael Fery; daughters-in-law Sandy, Monica, and Patty Fery; and grandchildren Margo, John Michael and his wife Maryclaire, Blake, Camille, Paige, and Dominick Fery. John was preceded in death by his parents, Margaret and Carl Fery, and an infant daughter, Margaret, who passed in 1962 in her first weeks of life. John's accomplishments fill many pages, adorn many plaques, and benefit many people. But accolades do not make a life. John, together with his loving wife Dee, created something more. They created a family. They provided opportunity. They produced a legacy. A funeral mass will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, February 18, 2017 at St. John's Cathedral, 707 North 8th Street, Boise, Idaho, with a graveside service to follow at Morris Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Idaho Community Foundation, John B. and Delores C. Fery Advised Fund, 210 West State Street, Boise, ID 83702; to the YMCA Horsethief Reservoir Camp, John B. Fery Fund, 1050 W. State Street, Boise, ID 83702; or to a charity of your choice. Arrangements are at Summers Funeral Homes, Boise, ID. 208-343-6493.
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