Esther Ferris, the mother of Elmira-native and Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro, passed away Thursday morning, according to Pirro’s Twitter account.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Graham Funeral Home in Rye, N.Y. for the Elmira-native.

In lieu of flowers, Judge Pirro requested for donations to be sent to the Chemung County SPCA, citing her mother’s love of rescue animals.

On Pirro’s Facebook page she issued this statement:

Esther Ferris, the mother of Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro, has passed away at 90 from pancreatic cancer. “She was my muse, my hero,” Judge Pirro said of her mother, who served as an inspiration in her career as both a Prosecutor and Judge. “I have lost my best friend. My mother stood up for the victim, for the abused, before it was vogue. She was a great influence on me and everyone around her. She took care of the people who couldn’t take care of themselves.”
Ferris was a passionate volunteer in her community, serving as a Pink Lady at St. Joseph’s Hospital, and in the Women’s Auxiliary at the Arnot Art Museum. To her delight, since she did her own gardening, Ferris won first prize in the Elmira Garden Tour at the age of 88. “She taught me how to fight for the underdog,” Pirro said. The Judge described her mother as “spry” who managed her families properties and would even help shovel snow, doing tasks right up until she became ill.

Ferris was born in Cortland, NY, grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, and returned to the US to spend most of her life in Elmira, NY where Judge Jeanine and her sister, Mary Louise Gershowitz, grew up. Esther spent time in New York City as a model. “She was a very beautiful person, both inside and out,” Pirro said. Esther leaves behind her sister’s, Jeanine Shahin (Syracuse, NY), Nelly Charlies (San Francisco, CA), Edna Mizher (Lebanon), and her two grandchildren, Cristine Pirro Schwarzman, Esq. and Alexander Ferris Pirro, both of Manhattan, NY.

The viewing will be held on Friday, April 26th from 6-9 PM at The Graham Funeral Home, 1036 Boston Post Road, Rye, NY 10580. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, April 27th at 9 AM at St. John Paul II at Immaculate Conception Maronite Catholic Chuch, 199 North Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, Westchester, NY.

In lieu of flowers please make contributions on behalf of Esther Ferris to Chemung County SPCA, 2435 NY-352, Elmira, NY 14903. Your generous contribution will support no-kill efforts to assist animals in need.

A graduate of Notre Dame High School, Pirro hosts Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine, which premiered in January 2011. Her law career began in the Chemung County District Attorney’s Office as an intern.