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Paul Raymond Ferree

The highest of distinction is service to others. King George VI


Quick Facts

  • Born 14 April 1912
  • Died 27 February 1999
  • Graduated John Fletcher College
  • Married 29 July 1933
  • Missionary
  • Descendant of Philip & Leah Ferree
Paul R. Ferree & Svea G. Ferree    

Paul Raymond Ferree was the oldest child of Earl Cleveland Ferree and Lovica Olive Todd Ferree. He was born in Nicollette, Minnesota, on his mother's birthday, 14 April 1912. A 1929 graduate of John Fletcher College in Iowa, he married Svea Gustafson on 29 July 1933. Svea was born in Sweden on 28 December 1901. They would become the parents of four daughters.

In the summer of 1936 they went to Paris for two years of language studies of French and Arabic. In June of 1938, Paul and Svea went to Tunisia as missionaries where they served many years in the northern mountains, the poorest area of the country. He and Svea organized yearly summer Bible camps for city children and in winter taught various trades to a number of shepherd boys. Svea taught them academics. This eventually led to the opening of an orphanage and an official school. Paul supported the various endeavors by creating and selling ceramics. A lot of effort went into this: digging clay in its natural state out of the mountain with pick and shovel, transporting it by donkey back, the various stages of refining it, creating models on his handmade potter's wheel, making molds, experimenting with paints and glazes, building a succession of kilns until one was finally successful, and monitoring long overnight firings. Besides teaching the Scriptures daily to all who worked under him, and besides teaching the multi-faceted phases of making pots, he also taught printing, gardening, brick making, and construction. He invented a new type of brick as well as an instrument which could be designed to print either music or Arabic script.

They were asked to leave the country by the Tunisian government in 1960 shortly after the independence from France. Paul and Svea then until 1973 lived for brief times in several different places oversees. The last ten years were spent in Switzerland. He became known in later years for his Arabic and other linguistic studies.

Svea Gustafson Ferree died 15 October, 1994, in Lancaster, Los Angeles County, California. Paul Raymond Ferree died 27 February 1999 in Lancaster, Los Angeles County, California. Both are buried in the Lancaster City Cemetery, California.

A sincere thank you to Evangeline Ferree Adams for sharing this story of her parent's life and service.