String band honors Mummer who tragically died in a car crash

PHL17 Morning News

In 2019, the joy following the Mummers Parade came to a tragic halt.

Joe Ferry, his fiancé Kelly Wisely, and their friend Dennis Palandro were in a car together in South Philadelphia when police say a speeding car hit their vehicle. All three lost their lives in the violent wreck.

Donna Ferry is Joe’s mother and says he had an sparkling personality.

“Joe was friendly, funny, interesting,” she said. “He loved to be involved in a lot of activities, loved the mummers and loved his family and friends.”

Ferry says her son lived and breathed mummery.

“His first parade was at nine,” she said. “He was in several other string bands and he loved it.”

His life’s work is becoming his legacy. Last year, members of the mummery community formed the Joe Ferry Christmas String Band. It is made up of members of several different string bands that go to area hospitals and nursing homes to put on a show for the patients. 

Jack Mills is a member and says the purpose of the band is to pay it forward and spread positivity.

 “It’s amazing,” he said. “It’s the holiday season which is never a great time to be in the hospital.”

In December, the band played for patients at Saint Christopher’s Hospital for Children. It was something that brought joy to the children in the hospital and the thousands that watched video of the performance in social media.

Ferry’s mom hopes this keeps her Joe’s memory alive.

“He left a piece of himself in everybody’s heart and that’s what’s so nice to know that he will live forever spiritually with us,” she said. “He will not be forgotten.”

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