James A. Ferry

James A. Ferry

WAUNAKEE/MIDDLETON-James A. Ferry, 79, passed away at Waunakee Manor on Sunday, March 19, due to complications of Parkinson’s disease diagnosed 12 years ago.

He was born in Roxbury on September 9, 1937; the second child of Eleanor (Irwin) and Darwin Ferry Sr. He married Karen Greenwood on February 8, 1964. Jim graduated from the UW Madison in 1959, completing his PhD there in nuclear physics in 1965. His undergraduate work for Professor Ray Herb on charging systems and support column improvements and subsequent graduate work led to the origination of the first successful pellet chain (Pelletron) electrostatic accelerator.

In 1965 he was instrumental, along with two colleagues, in the founding of National Electrostatics Corp. (NEC) in Middleton. He traveled extensively, introducing Pelletron accelerator technology to facilities around the world. He worked at NEC for over 50 years, serving as President from 1996 until his June 2016 retirement.

Jim was a quiet, selfless man who enjoyed nature and bird-watching, especially bluebirds and hummingbirds. His binoculars were always nearby for spotting and identifying creatures. He was a fan of all Wisconsin televised sports, or radio, if he had an ongoing project on his workbench.

Over the years Jim built many pieces of furniture for his household without sophisticated woodworking tools. He loved to fix things–he could return any unfixable item to proper function through analysis, innovation and fabrication.

Jim is survived by his mother, Eleanor; wife, Karen; son, Tom (Michelle); daughter, Jenny, and two grandchildren, Tristan and Ryan Ferry. He is also survived by brothers Dar (Peg), Noel (Marleen), Steve (Jan); sisters Nancy (Arvin) Larson, Mary Jo (Chris) Christensen, Barb (Dean) Sprecher, Jill (Mark) Farber; sister-in-law, Jean Greenwood, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, and brother, Pete.

Jim’s remains will be scattered on one of his favorite dog walking paths and as he requested, there will be no formal service.

Memorials may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation or a charity of your choice.

Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.