Edward Payson Ferry, a world class athlete and much-loved free spirit, passed away peacefully on September 18, 2023, in the house he built in Mill Valley.

Ed was born June 18, 1941, in Seattle to Edward Payson Ferry ll, a naval Lt Commander stationed at the time in the Aleutian Islands and Illis Harper Ferry, a member of a prominent Seattle family.

Ed attended Lakeside School in Seattle, where he excelled in football, basketball, and track, earning the Athletic Cup as the most outstanding athlete in his class.

Next stop for Ed was Stanford University, attracted in no small part by the California sunshine. He dropped football and went out for crew, although his qualifying experience was exclusively in rowboats.

After one year, his coach, Conn Findley, already a two-time Olympic medalist, asked Ed to row with him. They rowed together for 4 years, winning 4 National Championships, 5th place in 1962 World Championship, Gold in 1963 Pan America Games, and finally, in an exciting race in which they beat the Russian team, they won the Gold Medal for Pair with Coxswain in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

After that, it was on to Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania for an MBA. After Wharton, Ed’s life took a dramatic change and headed him in a direction that enriched his life ever after: he explored the world in a VW camper and then started Tent N’ Trek in the 70’s, and for 16 years lead high school students on a summer camping tour of Europe.

Off season, back in the states, Ed apprenticed himself to a lead carpenter to learn the trade and in the 1980’s he began a career that brought him enormous satisfaction and pride for the rest of his life: that of a successful builder of spec homes, primarily in Mill Valley CA, and almost always with spectacular views. About the time he discovered his love of building he met the other love of his life, Brenda Smith.

They shared a love of travel, joy in running, mountain biking, hiking, skiing, creative work, celebrating with friends and family and just about everything else.

Brenda had a long career in the nutrition industry but joined Ed in his construction projects, collaborating on the overall design and selecting the interior finishes. They married June 17, 2001, in a surprise wedding ceremony on the grounds of the house they had just finished creating.

Ed Ferry will be remembered for his modesty, kindness, his irrepressible sense of playfulness and a laugh that could fill a room and not infrequently cause heads to turn in restaurants.

He was always in motion around the property, hammer or shovel or weed-whacker in hand. He loved his family and wide circle of friends and was grateful every day for the fulfilling, adventurous, privileged life he led.

A private celebration of Ed’s wonderful life was held in October.

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