Tributes to Michael Ferree
by Jim Buehler – February 2019
I have known and been one of Michael’s closest friends and a brother for more than fifty years, forty five of which we shared a unique perspective on life because of our shared interest in reading and attempting to comprehend the Urantia Book. We were joined in our pursuit by Mike Mason and Bob Solone. Like most readers of this book, there may come a time when you question it’s validity. However, since we lived in close proximity to Chicago, we had the opportunity to venture to the Urantia Foundation and see for ourselves what kind of people were publishing and promoting this book, and the foundations staff at the time were probably wondering about these three characters who came to visit them.
We knew in our hearts that what we were reading was true, but everyone must answer the question of the book’s validity for themselves and in their own way. We were lucky enough to be able to make the drive to Chicago and in that process we met and talked to many fellow readers who became life long sisters and brothers to us.
In this life, Michael and I shared many good times together and I will always cherish the moments we had together. I look forward to the day when Mike and I meet again as we pursue the ever ascending adventure of finding God the Father. Jim Buehler
” Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.” p. 2090
by Michael Mason
I’m still feeling that forlorn feeling, missing my old friend and the regular contact we had in person or over the phone…
by Robert Solone
Mike hadn’t attended the Tuesday night group for a while but he was a regular member since the early ’80’s, and he was GLMUA’s first president. Those of us who knew him knew that he was an extraordinary, wise, and faith-filled human. It was indeed an honor to have known him. He’s got a head start on his mansion world adventure.
My name is Bob Solone and I live in Chicago.
36 years ago, In 1983, I had one of the luckiest encounters of my entire life. I was 33 years old – half a lifetime ago. And, at a study group at 533 here in Chicago, I had a chance encounter with two guys…two long-haired, hippy-like dudes from Indiana, who were still in their 20s. Two guys who were sort of off the main stream…and they were sort of joined at the hip, they were best buddies for life, even since their childhood years. One of them was Mike Mason, and the other one was Mike Ferree…one of the most interesting and unique individuals I have ever known. Shortly after I met the two Mikes, I got to know their other buddies, Jim Bueller and Damian Bondi, and of course Mike’s devoted wife and life-long partner Karen.
What can I say about Mike Ferree? …. Wherever he was, Mike made us think, and with his sharp, witty, and sometimes cynical sense of humor, he made us laugh. I tell ya, when Mike and Mike were together in the same room, there was no escaping it, it was always a laugh fest. And from a book we studied together, I quote: “When we are tempted to magnify our self-importance, if we stop to contemplate the infinity of the greatness and grandeur of our Makers, our own self-glorification becomes sublimely ridiculous, even verging on the humorous. One of the functions of humor is to help all of us take ourselves less seriously. Humor is the divine antidote for exaltation of ego.”
This man…definitely did things his way, he knew how to enjoy life to the fullest. How? And Why?… I think one of the reasons is because he had a very strong faith and conviction… that this life here, on this planet, at this time, was just the beginning of his long…eternal journey. And I want, so very much, to believe the way he did. Because that, somehow, is my solace… that is my comfort… that is my assurance, that I WILL have the opportunity to meet up with Mike again in the great somewhere…somewhere.
And, like in the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, with Jimmy Stewart, it’s hard to calculate just what influence you have on other people’s live’s….sometimes…until they surprise you, and disappear from your sight…suddenly, and without notice…..and then you think…after a while…you think… about how they did influence your life. And, speaking for myself, I AM partly the man I am today thanks to what I’ve learned and experienced with Mike Ferree.
He was the most well-read, self-educated, erudite and cultured man I ever met; a historian, a musicologist, an avid lover of the arts, from Mozart to Zappa and everything in between, Mike soaked it all up. All his life, he worked hard and played hard.
And on that note, I’ll just conclude with one of my favorite quotes from Hunter S. Thompson:
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
Farewell my friend.