Tess Ferrera

Takoma Park, MD

Teresita de Jesus Ferrera "Tess" Of Takoma Park, Maryland, joined the angels, surrounded by friends and family, on August 11, 2019. Born on December 2, 1957 in Cuba, with the overthrow of Batista, Tess and her family immigrated to the United States in 1959. Tess moved to the Washington, DC area in the early 1980s. Throughout her life, Tess was committed and passionate about whatever she did - as an activist, student, realtor, lawyer, singer, aunt, sister, sister-in-law, friend and cat whisperer.

Tess received a BA in Psychology from The George Washington University and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. She began her career as an activist, initially working as the Director of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She never left her roots as an activist, pursuing her passion for justice throughout her life into her charitable work, volunteering her time to help children and indigent people by providing tireless legal representation and emotional support for those in need.

Upon receiving her law degree, Tess began her career as a trial lawyer with the US Department of Labor in Washington, DC. She worked for the US Department of Labor for several years, as well as private law firms in Washington, DC. She was most recently a partner with the firm of Holifield Janich Ferrera, PLLC, a boutique firm specializing in ERISA. Consistent throughout her career, Tess was dedicated to her clients, providing them with unwavering support and outstanding commitment to guide them in their fiduciary duties relating to pension and health plans. Tess was highly regarded by her peers and was known as the Editor and primary author of the ERISA Fiduciary Answer Book that was published annually. Tess was also a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, inducted in 2011.

At 50, Tess realized a life-long dream to sing jazz, bringing joy and happiness to her and all those with whom she sang. Singing and music were a tremendous source of strength as were her friends and family - "some of the best medicine" she ever needed she said. Tess' resilience and positive energy inspired many to do their best. She was uplifting and supportive to all that knew her. She lived a full and positive life impacting many.

She leaves her dedicated and loving family: Lourdes Madsen and the late Hank Madsen of Tallahassee, Florida, and their children, Alan, Nic and Mary Elizabeth; Natalie and Carlos Castillo of Tallahassee and their children Natalie Nicole, Jonathan, Charlie and McCoy; and her brother Rick, his daughter Jessica and his wife Patty Ferrera of Fort Myers Florida. She also leaves many friends and family who loved her and are better citizens of the world because of her.