Luis Alberto Ferré Aguayo was born in the southern city of Ponce, Puerto Rico on February 17, 1904. Ferré's grandfather was a French engineer who was involved in the construction of the Panama Canal before settling in Cuba. Ferre's father, Antonio Ferré, was born in Cuba and grew up there. As a young man he immigrated to Puerto Rico, where he founded the company Puerto Rico Iron Works, in Barrio Playa de Ponce, Ponce, Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico Ferré met and married Maria Aguayo Casals, a cousin of Catalan cellist Pablo Casals, whose mother was Puerto Rican. Antonio and Maria had four sons, Luis, José, Carlos and Hermán Ferré, and two daughters, Rosario and Catholic nun Isolina Ferré.