Rufus J. Ferrara Obituary
Cohoes, New York
The man who operated one of the first IBM computers in the New York Capital region, a huge piece of equipment called a tabulating machine, was not a scientist, or a computer wizard, or even a skilled technician. He was a lover of the great outdoors, a hunter, a gymnast, a high school track star, and a proud husband and father of two, Rufus Ferrara, who died in Cohoes, N.Y., this Friday, September 24, 2010. He was 95 years old.
Ferrara was born in Gloversville, N.Y., December 14, 1914 to Carmine Ferrara and Lucia Moscato Ferrara, Italian immigrants who arrived to America at the turn of the last century. His long career in industrial corporate business began in 1933 at the Daniel Hayes Co. in Gloversville, working there at a time when that city was the center of the glove manufacturing industry of the country. He was responsible for production scheduling and control, as well as working as an assistant to the foreman in almost all the departments, from raw material stores to finished stock stores and shipping.
During this time he met his wife-to-be, Clara Riccitiello Ferrara. He was a patient in the hospital where she happened to be an administrative assistant, and it was love at first sight. But, she says, it was not so easy, because she waited days to see if he would pay the other girls in the hospital attention too, or if it was just her. But it was just her, and only her, and on June 25, 1944 they were married at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Gloversville.
After seven years at Daniel Hayes Co., Ferrara was hired as the office manager of Ford Manufacturing Co. in Waterford, N.Y., where he worked until 1944 to supervise payrolls and manage its accounts. Then Ferrara transferred to Cluett Peabody and Co. in Troy, N.Y., where he was commissioned to set up a new standard cost accounting system, used across the office inventory, until offered an executive position at Robert Reis & Co., which finally brought him to New York City.
Ferrara arrived in Manhattan in 1945 with Clara, then pregnant with their son Ralph, to the office of the vice president of Robert Reis & Co. where he worked as her assistant. His duties involved consolidating manufacturing operations which then covered seven wholly owned subsidiaries from three different states, as well as planning and scheduling production for all plants and making varied analysis of all manufacturing operations. He gained a breadth of experience at Robert Reis, which prepared him for the work he would do for 30 years at Zak Inc., and where he was eventually appointed director and treasurer.
A graduate of the Albany Business College and LaSalle Extension University, Ferrara also attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Russell Sage College and the State University of New York in Albany. He was the member and treasurer of the Planning Executives Institute, Hudson-Mohawk Chapter, as well as a member and past president of the Albany Chapter of the National Association of Accountants. He was nominated to serve as the international director of the National Association of Accountants and was a life member of the Institute of Management Accountants, of which he was president of the Albany chapter.
An honor in the world of managerial accounting, Ferrara was inducted into the Stuart Cameron MCleod Society (the SCMS) of the National Association of Accountants. But it wasn’t just in accounting that Ferrara was honored. He was also a Director of the Fashion Trade Association in New York City, and was an emeritus life member of the Planning Forum of the International Society for Strategic Management and Planning.
He was an adjunct professor in accounting for many years at Siena College and had a certificate for exceptional service from the Kavannaugh Hook and Ladder Volunteer Fire Company of Waterford. He was also elected chief of plant protection of the Albany County Civil Defense. And in 1969, he was cited by Governor Nelson Rockefeller for 19 years of exemplary service in the Civil Defense effort of Albany County where he was appointed as the County’s Chief of Plant Protection.
The last remaining survivor of seven children, Ferrara was described as a quiet, sensible, and a thoughtful man, a humble scion of a large Italian family. Ferrara was an avid out-doorsman, camping, hiking and snowshoeing with his friends, taking his son deer-hunting in the fall when the leaves were bright, fishing as a boy in the Adirondacks, leading the football team in his high school, and received recognition as a competitive gymnast at the Gloversville YMCA where, in the early 1930s, he was proud to have sponsored its first African American member.
But perhaps no commitment and no achievement can surpass the 66 years of marriage to Clara Ferrara. Rufus wrote poems to Clara on Valentines Day and crafted hand-made cards on her birthday. They continued to hold hands in their nineties during the families traditional “movie nights.” Members of the St. Ambrose Parish in Latham, N.Y., Clara and Rufus’ nurturing love is passed down to his daughter Lucia Ann, his son Ralph, Ralph’s wife Barbara, and their daughter, Rufus’ only grandchild, Mia. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins. He will always be missed, and always be loved, and his family prays in the Lords name that he be held in the palm of His Hand forever.