Runner's widow hopes to work for safer roads for athletes and drivers

Lenora Ferraro said she always worried about her husband, Gary, running on U.S. 42. (Source:...
Lenora Ferraro said she always worried about her husband, Gary, running on U.S. 42. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Updated: May. 16, 2018 at 7:13 PM EDT
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Family members said Gary loved Lenora more than anything. (Source: Family photo)
Family members said Gary loved Lenora more than anything. (Source: Family photo)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's the stance a widow is taking after her husband died in an accident May 12.

"Treasure your loved ones," Lenora Ferraro said. "Because you don't know -- they're here one day and gone tomorrow."

Ferraro's husband Gary lost his life on U.S. 42 running near Goshen. She hopes to one day work for safety of both athletes and drivers who share the road.

Even though plenty of runners and cyclists train for the Ironman and other races along the Oldham County roadway, Lenora Ferraro admitted, it can be a dangerous place for them.

She talked exclusively with WAVE 3 News about the greatest loss she's ever had. But she did not cast blame.

For officials, it's a tough place to be. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet operates U.S. 42, but Oldham County officials have already been working with runners on plans to make other roads in the county, like some in the Buckner area, safer for them.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Questions remain in death of beloved Oldham County runner

Mrs. Ferraro wants people to know her husband did love to run, but that's only a small slice of who he was.

"We saw Justify," she said.

What does the Kentucky Derby champ have to do with the late Gary Ferraro? It tells us who he was.

Getting his wife a peek at Justify on the backside of Churchill Downs during Derby week was one of many surprise adventures the devoted husband created for his bride of 50 years, Lenora.

"He loved my grandmother more than anything," Elyse Portal, their granddaughter, said.

The 69-year-old Ferraro, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer and an avid athlete, was also a horse owner. That horse, Rivers Legacy, was another surprise for his wife, and won quite a few races.

"He had a sense of humor, he would make things fun," Lenora remembered.

He loved his children and grandchildren, his dogs and cooking. At home, the Italian wanted to make people feel welcome. His passion for the outdoors can be seen in his garden, and was also the reason he was out running on U.S. 42 Saturday morning, just a mile from his house.

A driver told police he didn't see him in time.

Ferraro never made it home.

"The one thing out of all this," Lenora offered, "love your husband or boyfriend or girlfriend and let the petty things go, because you don't know if they're going to be here. Because he was here and he's gone."

Both his wife and granddaughter didn't like him running on the two lane U.S. 42. They said they often worried about him running on that road.

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For a husband who always came up with those surprises, like a cherished stepping stone he made with the couple's initials, Lenora said she'll work with the public on safer running solutions on 42 and beyond in his memory.

"If anything good can come of him passing, that would be it," she said.

The funeral is Thursday and Ferraro will be buried in his jogging clothes. The family asks mourners to celebrate his life and wear their favorite workout gear.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Humane Society.

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