Gary Lee Ferguson, 83, passed away at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on July 22, with his wife Patricia (nee Weretka) and daughters Janet and Karen Ferguson Fuson by his side.
Born on April 4, 1939, Gary spent the first years of his childhood in Argenta, Illinois, with mother Lois and grandparents Lydia and Howard Mahoney, then in Weldon, on the Ferguson farm with parents Don and Lois Ferguson, sister Lynn, and brothers Mike and Dan. His lifelong love of the outdoors began there -- out of necessity, with his farming chores (including raising award-winning pigs), combined with no indoor plumbing (which led to many entertaining stories), no electricity, and a daily hike to the one-room schoolhouse he attended. He joined the Army after high school, which led him on many new adventures and work overseas, earned a degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Missouri at Rolla, then began his 39-year career with Caterpillar, Inc. He was a respected executive and leader, and retired as the director of one of the company’s engine divisions.
In 1964, due to a still-dubious story about a “wrong phone number,” Gary met Patricia Weretka, which led to their marriage on July 3, 1966, and a loving 56-year marriage. Their partnership led them to Albuquerque, New Mexico; Peoria and Metamora, Illinois; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and finally Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they have lived for 20 years. They traveled the world after their retirement, including trips to Asia, Europe, South America, and many places in the United States.
Gary, sometimes known as Buck, Fergie or Buford, loved to fly fish in the Pecos River, golf wherever he could, and won awards in the New Mexico Senior Olympics for his basketball prowess. He worked in the couple’s beautiful yard, which has been designated as an official wildlife sanctuary. And he created many beautiful pieces of woodwork, which furnish and adorn their home today.
Gary was a voracious reader, with Kurt Vonnegut and Mark Twain amongst his favorites. His family, therefore, found it fitting to include this Vonnegut quote from Slaughterhouse-Five: “…when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist.”
Gary leaves behind wife of 56 years, Patricia; daughter Janet; daughter Karen Ferguson Fuson and son-in-law Rick Fuson; his cherished grandchildren, Kaela and Kyle, who he adored and led on many adventures; brother Dan and his wife Lynn; brother Mike and his wife Jan. Gary is preceded in death by his sister Lynn, who is survived by nephew Ron and his wife Angi.
The funeral will be a private military honors ceremony at Santa Fe National Ceremony. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the charity of your choice.
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