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Joe Ferrara: God Takes His Best Work Back Early

Managing Real Estate Broker with Howard Hanna Rand Realty License # 49FA1074963

Joe Ferrara, perhaps at Rocco's in ManhattanHave you ever known, perhaps when there is a death in the family, the kind of kind soul who steps up and generously gives of themselves? Dinner, picking people up at the airport, a shoulder to cry on, they just seem like an angel in a time of need. Those people have our gratitude.

Now...have you ever known someone who was like that every day? Selfless, kind, generous, supportive and good natured, just because they are? That sort of "angel" is rarer still. In my humble opinion, Joe Ferrara, who passed away last night at the young age of 55, was that kind of guy

If you don't know who Joe was, you should. He was the author of the Sellsius real estate blog and was a real trailblazer on the cutting edge of technology, social media and real estate. I had the privilege of meeting Joe through our shared membership in the Lucky Striker Social Media club in New York City last year and he was a source of support and encouragement. I went to my first Lucky Striker meeting last summer at a time when my blogging efforts had begun to tail off. I felt that I didn't have the time. Knowing Joe's notoriety as a blogger, I spoke with him at some of the meetings and he encouraged me to have fun with it and break some rules. It was just a few brief conversations, but I appreciated his warmth, and by the time I saw him again in December of 2009 at Triple Play in Atlantic City, I had jumped back into blogging headfirst. He noticed, and that was gratifying. 

Triple Play was where I had the opportunity to spend the most time I have ever spent with him, and he was committed to raising the bar in the real estate industry. I loved his observations and insights, and I was proud that he was friendly with me. In the ensuing months, whenever he spoke at a local event, such as Westchester Real Estate professionals (which Joe co-founded with Scott Forcino), I was there. I still have notes on my Droid from the January Seminar in White Plains that was almost snowed out. He wasn't charging any money. He wasn't selling anything. He was sharing his knowledge. That was Joe. 

Westchester Real Estate professionals first meeting January 2010. Joe is on the far right.

As recently as this past month, Joe was in the REALTOR magazine with a piece encouraging agents to take on pro-bono projects- this was something he spoke with passion about in Atlantic City. I wasn't the only one who noticed what a happy enigma this man was (I can count on one hand the number of attorneys I actually like. Joe deserved to be counted twice at that). When he got sick earlier this year, there was an outpouring of support

And now that he has passed away, we should mourn his leaving us. I really hoped I could have been around him more. We are all- all of us- diminished without Joe Ferrara. 

UPDATE: For those of you who are curious about what sort of impact Joe had on people, read more at the Phoenix Real Estate Guy's blog

Comments (49)

Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

I never met Joe either but certainly recognize him as one of the pioneers of blogging. I am sad for his family. Everyone says he was a great guy.

Aug 05, 2010 12:26 AM
J. Philip Faranda
Howard Hanna Rand Realty - Yorktown Heights, NY
Associate Broker / Office Manager

Bill he was a big deal who didn't read his own headlines. He was devoid of ego and only cared about making the industry better. 

Christa- mine as well.

Loreena- Most people never met him in person. I was fortunate enough to live in this area and meet him. 

Aug 05, 2010 01:02 AM
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Great tribute Philip. We have never met him. Seems to young to be taken, may he rest in peace  

Aug 05, 2010 01:37 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Phillip, I did not know Joe; however, I did read his article in the REALTOR® Magazine. The article showed what kind of person Joe was in every day life. Thanks for the nice tribute.

Aug 05, 2010 01:42 AM
Home Loan Search.Online
Home Loan Search Online - Newnan, GA

I'm sorry for your loss, but happy that you were able to learn from and be encouraged by him. 

Aug 05, 2010 01:55 AM
Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

I hadn't heard of him and I was at Triple Play and I feel absolutely bereft that I missed the opportunity to listen to such a good soul.  That is so sad.  This is a beautiful tribute.  

Aug 05, 2010 02:03 AM
Patsy Overton
Patsy Overton Interiors, Atlanta, Georgia - Duluth, GA

Selfless people are few and far between.  Sounds like Joe was one of those guys.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts about him with us.  No doubt he will be greatly missed.

Aug 05, 2010 02:37 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author


I join you in honoring these most coveted and attractive traits for a human being to have. Thank you for pointing them out.....


Aug 05, 2010 03:09 AM
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

Phil, your heartfelt tribute to Joe underscores the depth of many relationships that have been developed under the umbrella of ActiveRain.

Aug 05, 2010 04:03 AM
Susan Lehmkuhl
Buy and Sell Smart Realty, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Associate Broker

It's always sad when someone we know and care about is taken too soon.  My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and associates

Aug 05, 2010 04:29 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

I have heard a lot about Joe in the last few days, I never met him, but he sounds like someone I would have liked to spend time with. A very personal and heartfelt tribute. Thank you.

Aug 05, 2010 05:10 AM
Rita Fong
RE/MAX REAL ESTATE TODAY, Executive Broker 901-488-9590 - Marion, AR
Realtor - Marion Arkansas Homes for Sale

I heard of the sad news yesterday through Brad's FB status.  I am not familiar with Joe at all, but from your post, I felt like I knew him already, and you wrote a very sincere post about your friend, Joe.  I can tell you are saddened by the news, and hope his family and you will take it easier as days go by.

Aug 05, 2010 05:37 AM
Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Your words about your friend and colleague are a tribute to how he lived his life and what he meant to others in the industry. 

Aug 05, 2010 06:41 AM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

I was so sad yesterday, Joe was an awesome human being. I am so thankful that I was able to spend a day with him and Rudy in Michigan on the great Blog USA tour.

Great tribute.

Aug 05, 2010 06:54 AM
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

Very nice of you to give such kind words and tribute to him. Sounds like he was well deserving!

Aug 05, 2010 07:52 AM
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Really touching post.

Aug 05, 2010 09:34 AM
Lesley Wagstaff
Re/Max Results Realty in Vancouver, BC - Coquitlam, BC
For Real Estate and Mortgages

What a nice tribute to someone who obviously gave a lot to many people.  Sorry you have lost a friend.  I am sure his family will love your lovely thoughts.

Aug 05, 2010 10:41 AM
Speed Equity® Mortgage Acceleration System
Speed Equity® - Olympia, WA
We help your clients Own Their Homes Years Sooner

Phillip, I never knew Joe but your tribute to him speaks volumes about you. You're a worthy friend indeed.

Aug 05, 2010 01:36 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Excellent tribute, JP--I'm glad that your time with him brought you back on the blogging trail and his impact on you was so touching.  Great post; Joe's family will be in my prayers as he was SUCH a good person and left them at such a young age.

Aug 05, 2010 03:09 PM
Lisa Ludlow Archer
Live Love Homes-Keller Williams, Charlotte, NC Ballantyne Area - Waxhaw, NC


what a fabulous tribute to a man that has impacted so many of the people that have impacted my life as well. I have read many of his blogs over the last several months and I hope that his knowledge rubs off even if a little.

Blesings to his family,

Lisa aka @allstarmom3

Aug 06, 2010 04:37 PM