Scioto Foundation Announces New Ferrell Fund

The Scioto Foundation announces the establishment of the Margaret S. Ferrell Fund designated for the benefit of a number of Catholic charities in Portsmouth and elsewhere. Ferrell, who died on April 2, 2015, was a prominent local businesswoman involved in many business and professional organizations, as well as church activities.

Beneficiaries of the Ferrell Fund include the Congregation of the Lady of Lourdes, Sisters of St. Francis in Rochester, Minnesota; the Sisters of Charity in Nazareth, Kentucky; charities determined by the children of Ferrell’s sister Miriam Donini; special projects or specific purposes for the benefit of St. Mary’s Church in Portsmouth, as well as scholarship assistance for worthy students matriculating from the Catholic School System of Portsmouth and annual awards for deserving teachers or volunteers in the local Catholic School System for projects or endeavors approved by the Donini family.

Born on September 26, 1918 in Portsmouth, Margaret Ferrell was the daughter of the late Frank E. and Sophia George Ferrell. She was a businesswoman from the time she graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1936, working for a local auto dealership. Margaret eventually bought half of that business and formed “Cooper and Ferrell Auto Sales” with Leo Cooper in the early 50’s. Later she operated two locations, one near the bridge on Second Street and one at 14th and Gay Street.

In 1960 “Marg,” as she was known, bought out her partner and renamed the business “Ferrell Auto Sales” which she operated until her retirement in 1980. She was the first female

to own a used car dealership in the State of Ohio and had hundreds of loyal customers, many who purchased their first car from her and returned to buy from her year after year.

Ferrell was a life-long member of St. Mary of the Annunciation Church in Portsmouth and honored as a member of the Catholic Church’s Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. She supported many local Catholic parishioners that were called to religious vocations.

“Marg sponsored Little League teams and a female Soap Box Derby winner,” said her nephew and family spokesman Joe Donini, “and was very active in St. Mary’s Church in many ways. She was supportive of the Sisters of St. Francis in Rochester where her sister Dorothy belonged and to the Sisters of Charity in Nazareth where her sister Patricia was.”

“She was a very special aunt to her nieces and nephews, supporting them spiritually and financially when needed. She also opened her home to several families in times of need and gave financial aid to a number of local business start-ups,” Donini added, citing just some of the ways Ferrell showed her generous spirit.

Contributions to the Margaret S. Ferrell Fund may be made by friends, family and supporters in the form of gifts of cash, securities or property at any time. Further information about the Ferrell Fund or other planned giving opportunities may be obtained by contacting Kim Cutlip or Patty Tennant at the Scioto Foundation office, (740) 354-4612 or by visiting the SF website at