October 28, 1939 – October 8, 2023
Rev. Dr. Haldon (Hal) D. Ferris of Elk Rapids, MI, claimed his resurrection victory at his beloved Birch Lake home on Sunday, October 8, 2023. Hal was born to the late William Dale and Juanita Ferris on October 28, 1939, in Richmond, Indiana. Hal was immensely loved by his wife, Kathryn Snedeker; his children, Blair (Wendy) Ferris, Lara (Jeff) Neyer, and Kirk Ferris; his grandchildren Taylor (Gavin) Ballinger-Villalobos, Lydia Neyer, Jerad (Chloe) Neyer, and Kaylob Ferris-Himes; his great-grandchildren, Gian, and Marcel Ballinger-Villalobos.
As the child of a pastor, Hal’s early life included many moves for his father’s pastoral assignments throughout Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois. He received an associate degree from Jackson Junior College and completed his undergraduate degree at Western Michigan University. Knowing God genuinely called him to ordained ministry, Hal graduated from Evangelical Theological Seminary in Naperville, Illinois, with a Master of Divinity Degree. Hal would later complete his formal education, receiving a Doctor of Ministry from Drew University. He was just 19 when he was assigned to his first church. Hal’s full-time ministry as an Elder in the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the consequent United Methodist Church spanned 43 years in both the West Michigan and Detroit Conferences. Retiring in 2002 from Saginaw First UMC as co-pastor with his wife, Rev. Kathy Snedeker, Hal continued in part-time ministry at Saginaw First. Hal was a tremendous teacher and loved history. He read extensively from various faiths and theological perspectives, holding fast to God’s gracious, all-inclusive love as shown in Jesus Christ as the measure of veracity.
Hal married Kathy Snedeker in 1987 at the Flushing United Methodist Church. They shared a passion for ministry, mission, adventures of challenge and learning, sports, and an unconquerable love. Their respect and appreciation for each other grew deeper with each passing year; it was truly an incredible love story. They believed in living without regret and fully enjoying the treasured gift of life God had given them. This philosophy inspired them to undertake bicycle excursions in Michigan, Maine, Italy (twice), Austria, Germany, The Czech Republic, Greece, and France. They traveled and camped from coast to coast for many years, hiking the Grand Canyon three times, one of those times being a three-day, rim-to-rim excursion. Just this past May, they celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary in Ireland, traveling to the beautiful Emerald Isle and Scotland.
In 1999, Hal and Kathy purchased the Birch Lake cottage that was once the summer vacation spot for the Snedeker family. Birch Lake had always been the place of the Snedeker family’s heart, and quickly became the place of Hal’s heart. Upon Hal’s retirement in 2002, Hal and his dear friend, the late Ray Graham, renovated the cottage, making it a year-round home. Hal viewed their Birch Lake home and everything he had as a gift from God to be shared. To say he loved his Birch Lake neighbors hardly captures the depth of his appreciation and devotion to them (including the neighborhood dogs). Hal loved his life at the lake and would say almost daily, “Just another day in paradise.”
In addition to his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, Hal is survived by his brother, Dennis (Micheline) Ferris; sisters, Marge Brown, Kim (Bethany) Ferris, Natalie (David) Poole; many treasured sisters and brothers-in-law, as well as beloved nieces and nephews, many of whom called him their Zio. Hal was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Valerie Mulvany, and his brother, Dalice Ferris.
A memorial service honoring Hal’s life will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 28, 2023, at Saginaw First United Methodist Church, 4790 Gratiot, Saginaw, Michigan 48638. Friends are welcome to visit with the family before the service from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. A dessert reception will follow the celebration of Hal’s life.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Hal’s life may consider the UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). Gifts can be mailed to Global Ministries/UMCOR, GPO, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. Envelopes will also be provided at the service.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and memories with Hal’s family at his tribute page at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The family is being cared for by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
*Ferris, Haldon D. (Kathryn Snedeker) – DECEASED [(RE) P MI, 1960; F MI, 1967; RE 2002] Cloverdale 1959; Pipestone 1962; Portage Prairie 1966; Transfer to Detroit Conf, Livonia: St. Matthew’s (assoc) 1968; Romulus, New Boston 1971; Dixboro 1974; Sanford 1985; Dearborn: Mt. Olivet 1988; Saginaw: First (co-pastor) 6/16/1996; Retired 2002.
Last Updated on October 13, 2023