George T. Ferrell, a long-time resident of Berkeley, died after a brief illness on Sept. 5, 2017, at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. He was 79 years old.

George was born Nov. 19, 1937, in Klamath Falls, OR and moved with his parents, Carl and Helen Ferrell and sister, Carol, to El Sobrante in 1947. He graduated from Richmond High School in 1955 and then attended UC Berkeley, where he received a forestry bachelor of science in 1959, a masters of science in zoology in 1966, and a doctorate in entomology in 1969. He worked as a U.S. Forest Service entomologist for his entire career, conducting important research on the impact of beetle infestations on Western forests.

George is survived by his sons, Michael, of Seattle, and Christopher, of Berkeley, and his grandchildren, Amarra, Sam and Aidan. George raised his sons with his former wife, Sidney Ferrell, in both Berkeley and Hat Creek, near Mount Lassen, where the family spent many summers while George conducted research at a U.S. Forest Service research station, fondly referred to as “the bug lab.” These summers afforded George the opportunity to share his love of fly-fishing, camping and scientific inquiry with his sons and to absorb the imagery and beauty of northern California that he captured throughout his life in numerous landscape paintings of this and many other areas in the American West.

A painting of Mount Shasta by George Farrell

An avid hunter when he was young, George had a change of heart about the sport in his early thirties and decided that he would give it up in favor of other outdoor pursuits. He was a longtime member of the Sierra Club and a dedicated environmentalist. He was never more content than when he was outdoors, hiking, fishing, and studying the flora and fauna of wherever he traveled. His knowledge and passion for the natural world were admired by all who knew him.

A memorial gathering will be held on November 19 at a location to be confirmed. If you would like more information about the memorial, please contact

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