John “Baitman” Ferrell, 1941-2021

 

John Forrest “Baitman” Ferrell, 79, of La Porte, Ind., passed away Monday, June 14, 2021, at his home.

He was born Oct. 24, 1941, in La Porte, the son of Forrest Wilbur and Elsie Marie (Zila) Ferrell.

A lifelong resident of La Porte, John was an entrepreneur and salesman his entire working life. He and his wife, Karen, who was “the wind beneath his wings,” opened and ran the Rod and Reel Bait Shop, Frostop Drive-In root beer stand, Warehouse Sports, and more recently, All-Star Towing and All-Star Autos, to name a few. John never met a stranger and was known for telling a joke or two. He served on the La Porte City Police Merit Board and was a lifetime member of the NRA. He enjoyed hunting and fishing and swimming daily in his pool, and was an avid sports fan. He liked playing poker and other card games and loved a good cigar. Of course, John liked cars and had a few classics along the way. Dale Earnhardt was his favorite NASCAR driver, but he rooted for the local guys as well.  And you never saw John without a cap! His special joys, though, were his grandchildren, watching their sports and teaching them the lessons of life. 

On Dec. 1, 1962, at First Christian Church of La Porte, John married Karen Dowd Ferrell, who survives.

He is also survived by two sons, Jack (Janelle) Ferrell of La Porte and Tony (Amy) Ferrell of La Porte; two daughters, Kelly (Andrew) Crowl of Rolling Prairie, Ind., and Marti Ferrell-Gierke of La Porte; brother Don (Rhea) Ferrell of La Porte; grandchildren, Nicholas and Bradley Ferrell, Jessica and Josh Ferrell, Tyler (Hannah) Crowl and Maverick Crowl, and Madison and Aubrey Gierke; son-in-law, Joe Gierke of La Porte; brother-in-law, James Dowd of St. Cloud, Fla.; many nieces and nephews; and the entire “All Star” family. 

John was preceded in death by his parents.

The family will receive friends at Haverstock Funeral Home and Cremation Services, La Porte, on Thursday, June 17, from 3:30 to 7 p.m. A Celebration of Life Service will follow at 7 p.m. Thursday with retired Pastor Dr. Rod Nielsen officiating. Cremation will take place.

Memorial contributions may be made in his honor to the American Diabetes Association, 55 E. Monroe St., Ste 3420, Chicago, Ill. 60603; or The National Autism Association of Northwest Indiana, PO Box 216, Hobart, Ind. 46342.

Messages of condolence may be posted below.

10 Responses to “John “Baitman” Ferrell, 1941-2021”

  1. Oldeskule

    Jun 16. 2021

    Rest well John. You were one of a kind. If heaven has a fishing hole, I know you will be running the bait shop there.

    Reply to this comment
    • Debbie Babcock

      Aug 02. 2021

      John was the nicest man, as well as your family!
      I know he is missed by all.
      Very sorry, and my prayers go to your family at this time.
      I owe him some chocolate chip cookies!

      Reply to this comment
  2. Dan Wegiel

    Jun 16. 2021

    My heart goes out to Karen, Jack and the Ferrell family. John & I have been friends since way back in his “Baitman” days. A great man who will be missed by all who knew him. Rest in Peace my friend.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Walter Brath

    Jun 16. 2021

    Being a young police officer working midnights we would always wait for John to open the bait shop so we could have that first cup of coffee. We would hang around and tell stories and shoot the breeze. John later became a Police Merit Commission Member for many years. He was a great friend of the Police and supported them always.What a loss to the community.

    Walter Brath
    LaPorte City Police Chief, retired

    .

    Reply to this comment
    • Karl Jackson

      Jun 16. 2021

      I, growing up what I’d say was poor in a concrete slab house in Fish Lake. I went off to work early in life, in the 8th grade to pay for my own school clothes. I loved talking to John, he was a wise, smart man with alot of people skills and a work ethic like myself. I brag John up every time someone mentions his name. He told me once for me to achieve what I had, from the poor start I had in life, that “I had to make every step count”. I knew then, he understood. You could learn alot from John if you wanted to listen. Sorry about his passing. He has a wonderful family. LaPorte is a better place because of him. God bless, may he rest in peace.

      Reply to this comment
  4. john zakes

    Jun 16. 2021

    honed my poker skills at the ”baithouse” back in the mid to late 60s and worked out many a deal at the auto lot. also solved many world problems in my visits to the lot to just talk. my prayers go out to Karen and the rest of the family

    Reply to this comment
  5. Michael Taggart

    Jun 16. 2021

    I visited John at Rod N’ Reel atleast 4-5 times a week, and always enjoyed dealing with him and Karen. John was one of the Best!

    Rest well, Brother, Maybe we’ll cross paths again someday!

    Reply to this comment
  6. judi keller

    Jun 16. 2021

    Your loss is also our loss. What a guy. Jen and I will miss him. That famous chair will be empty. We will remember him as the best. All of our cars came from All Star Auto. God bless the Ferrell family.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Tiffany Marshall

    Jun 16. 2021

    So sorry for the families loss!! He was a great guy!! 🙁 Treated everyone like they were family. Have known him and his family since I was little. My dad use to take me to the bait shop when I was little so he could visit with John. He will definitely be missed!! Sending Love and prayers to Karen and the family!

    Reply to this comment
  8. Lucy Hutchison

    Jun 19. 2021

    So sorry to hear of johns passing he was a good friend and a very honest guy Karen my heart goes out to you and your family

    Reply to this comment

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