Dot native Charles Ferris dies at 90; appointed by Carter to chair the FCC

Charles D. Ferris

Charles D. Ferris, a lawyer who led the FCC during the Carter administration after helping to enact landmark civil rights legislation as counsel to US Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, died on Feb. 16 at his home in Chevy Chase, Md. He was 90.

A Dorchester native and a Triple Eagle, Mr. Ferris attended local parochial school, Boston College High School, and Boston College, where he studied physics. He joined the US Navy in the mid-1950s and served in the Pacific, then came back to Boston to earn a law degree at Boston College Law School.

He joined the US Justice Department in 1961, and found his stride in 1963 as staff director and general counsel of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, which was led by Mansfield, and kept at it until serving briefly as general counsel to Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill.

In September 1977, President Jimmy Carter nominated Mr. Ferris to chair the FCC, where he gained notice for moving the panel to make economic issues the focus of its attention.

He left government work to practice law with the Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo firm from 1981 to 2013, when he retired.

Mr. Ferris was married to Patricia Ferris née Brennan, with whom he had daughters Caroline and Sabrina.

Subscribe to the Dorchester Reporter