Ferris, Donald, 2017


Ferris, Donald, 2017

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Donald Ferris was born on February 7, 1945, in Cortland, New York. He lived all but two years of his life in Cortland and Homer. He had a good relationship with his family, especially with his grandfather who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon and worked in the Wickwire factory. As a child, Donald became interested in newspapers and delivered the local paper throughout Cortland and to the Wickwire factory. Early in Donald’s life, his grandfather, who worked in the Wickwire factory, would tell him stories about working in the factory and some of the incidents that occurred. Donald also grew up across the street from the Wickwire factory and recalls factory workers paying nickels to park their cars in his garage. Donald also recalled hearing the ambulances go back and forth between the factory and the hospital. One day, Mr. Ferris took a test and received a Regents scholarship. Unsure of what to do, he went and talked to an Air Force recruiter, who told him to go to college. So, he decided to take an entrance exam at the Rochester Institute of Technology, since they had a printing program, and passed. When he graduated, he moved to Chicago, and got a job with the Continental. However, his draft came up for the Vietnam War. A medical condition deferred him from deployment. He moved back to New York, and began working for a pharmaceutical company for his junior and senior year of college. He decided to not move back to Chicago, and decided to work for the company that he worked for over the summer. His brother convinced him to start a printing business, which he started in 1972, which he still does to this day. He’s also been the village treasurer for Homer. He has lived in Homer since 1976 with his wife and children, and continues printing until this day. He took over a bi-weekly newspaper for a friend, and is still looking for someone to take over it.

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Zachary Frechette is an undergraduate student at SUNY Cortland studying history and education. Jeremy Dzigas is an undergraduate student at SUNY Cortland studying history and education. Christopher Dutcher is an undergraduate student at SUNY Cortland studying history and education. This interview was recorded in Fall 2017 for History 280: Introduction to Public History, for a project on the Wickwire factory in Cortland, New York, for the 1890 House to use for their future exhibit on the factory. This class was taught by Evan Faulkenbury.


Interview conducted by Zachary Frechette, Jeremy Dzingas, and Christopher Dutcher on October 6, 2017.


Donald Ferris, Oral Histories, Cortland Community

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.


These oral histories express the personal views, memories, and opinions of the interviewee. They do not represent the policy, views, or official history of SUNY Cortland.

Ferris, Donald, 2017