Appreciation: Herbert Messina Ferrante
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Appreciation: Herbert Messina Ferrante

Klaus Vella Bardon writes:

The recent death of Herbert Messina Ferrante has robbed the dental profession of one of its most high-profile personalities.

Herbert was larger than life and relished the limelight with a passion. His loud and flamboyant persona made his presence felt whenever there was a social or professional gathering. He never stood on the side-lines. He exploited his talents to the maximum and believed in taking a stand.

As any person who takes a public stance, he earned both friends and enemies. This did not deter him. He not only involved himself in his profession, which he loved and in which he excelled, but he also threw himself into the political arena and was committed to sports and other endeavours.

As a young man, he must have been a bit of a madcap as revealed in a recent ‘Fifty years ago’ report on this newspaper where it was recalled that he promptly came to the aid of a friend who had his car stolen and set off in chase with his own car to corner the thief!

But beneath the exuberant and colourful exterior there was another side to Herbert that was largely hidden and overlooked. He was a man who strongly believed in the core traditional values that are being so readily eroded nowadays.

Despite the brutal cold, the congregation in the packed church of St Julian’s were enlightened on these qualities in the tribute delivered in the homily at his funeral Mass.

Undoubtedly, his seven-year battle with cancer had a profound impact on his spiritual development. His zest for life never dimmed, despite the considerable constraints of his harrowing illness.

One might also say he set an example to so many of us who throw in the towel so readily at the slightest setback. In this, he was blessed by his devoted wife whose calm character so complemented his own.

To her, their son and family, condolences on the loss of what they rightly called their ‘pillar’.

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