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TEACHING BY EXAMPLE

Drs. Joan and George Ferry

Today, George D. Ferry, M.D., a retired Texas Children’s Hospital physician, and his wife, Joan R. Ferry, Ph.D., share the message he often preached to fellows: “Giving back is an important tradition in life and in medicine.” They have faithfully supported Texas Children’s Hospital for nearly 40 years. Now they plan to carry on this legacy through a gift from their IRA to establish the George and Joan Ferry Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Research and Education Endowed Fund at Texas Children’s.

While redoing their wills, the couple considered new ways to support the institutions they admired. Dr. George Ferry wanted to show his deep appreciation for Texas Children’s staff and the opportunities he had while serving as the hospital’s first trained pediatric gastroenterologist and eventually as the director of Texas Children’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Center and chief of the IBD clinic.

“I remember what it was like to build my practice at a time when patients weren’t directed to see a certain medical group or physician,” George said. “Having to earn people’s trust gave me a little different perspective on how privileged physicians are to enter people’s lives and care for them, sometimes in very personal and even life-threatening situations. It’s a joy to give back.”

Following his mentors’ examples, George made teaching the next generation a priority throughout his career — and it’s still a priority for him today. His messages have influenced many fellows who have become generous physicians, and the contribution from the Ferrys’ IRA will help train many more fellows in the years to come. He also encourages his children and grandchildren to express gratitude for their blessings by giving.

The couple’s experiences with giving to their church and other organizations, as well as with personally helping people in need, have also shaped their philosophy. “Helping people feels wonderful,” said Joan. “It makes us happy.”

Since George retired from Texas Children’s last year, he and his wife have enjoyed the chance to engage in more hands-on charitable projects such as delivering meals to people in need. George is still involved with the medical/home-building missions he led in Bolivia for 15 years and maintains contact with fellows at Texas Children’s. The Ferrys will continue to demonstrate the importance of giving through their philanthropy and service.

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