Memorial celebration of life services for Jeremiah Ferguson, who passed away Tuesday, April 12, 2022, at Clearview Home in Mount Ayr were held Friday, April 29, 2022 at 11:00 AM at the Lenox United Presbyterian Church. Military Honors will be accorded at the church after the services. Memorials may be given in his name or to Every Step Hospice in Mount Ayr. Interment of ashes will be held at a later date in Hornell, New York. Memories can be shared with the family at www.ritchiefuneralhome.com. Arrangements were entrusted to the Ritchie Funeral Home of Lenox, where we ‘Celebrate Life’.
Jeremiah Miller Ferguson was born June 26, 1925, in North Hornell, New York, the only son of Russell Sweetser Ferguson and Miriam (Miller) Ferguson. He grew up with his two sisters in Hornell, New York. He graduated from Hornell High School with the Class of 1943. In high school he was active in football, basketball, track, band (clarinet), and Aviation Club. He enjoyed getting around the area on the family’s bicycle built for two – singlehanded if need be. A favorite destination was Demmon’s Pond, where he met friends for swimming and other outdoor activities. After graduation, Jere enlisted in the United States Army, serving his country in Europe during World War II. Jere was hit by shrapnel in Belgium during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, which severed his left thumb and severely injured his abdomen. He was hospitalized in England for three months and then two more months stateside before returning home. He was honorably discharged in 1945.
After his discharge he attended Hamilton College in Clinton, New York where he studied Pre-Med, following a long line of physicians in his family. Jere later decided to pursue Mechanical Engineering and attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York where he graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1951. Jere returned to Hornell while working as an engineer, and in his free time built a home for his mother. Jere was united in marriage to Frances Helen Burdell in February of 1955. The couple made their home in Woodbury, New Jersey where he worked at Philadelphia Naval Yard as a Mechanical Engineer for Foster Wheeler. The couple was blessed with the birth of a son, Jeremiah Luther. The family moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, then in 1966 to the Worcester, Massachusetts area. While working there for Riley Stoker Corp., he developed a patent for steam boiler feedwater pump controls. In 1974, they landed in Auburn, Maine where he worked in the pulp & paper industry until retirement in 1983.
After his retirement the couple enjoyed traveling and Caribbean cruises, and Jere began building his 44-foot steel sailboat. Boatbuilding went on hiatus from 1986 to 1989 while he and his son built a house for his son’s family. In September of 1992, Fran passed away, and for a time Jere lost interest in his sailboat. In 1993, a high school class reunion was being planned in Hornell. Jere looked up an old friend and rekindled a romance with high school sweetheart Audrus Hooker. The couple were united in marriage in 1994, and lived alternately in Maine and New York. After their marriage, the couple worked full speed on the sailboat until its completion in 1999, christening it ‘A. Hooker’. They enjoyed sailing for many years along the coast, including sailing to South Carolina for the winter. When their sailing days came to an end they moved to a new home on Keuka Lake in New York. They enjoyed living in the Finger Lakes area and weekly bridge games with friends Mary and Mary Pat. Audy passed away on April 13, 2018, leaving a huge void in his life. Jere moved to be near his son in Iowa, where they continued a strong relationship until his death.
Left to cherish his memory is his only son, Jere Ferguson and wife Sandra of Lenox, Iowa; four grandchildren, Moses Ferguson and wife Melanie of Blue Springs, Missouri; Emeline Ferguson of Phippsburg, Maine; Emalie Hogan and husband James of Malvern, Iowa; Sam Donaldson and Amber of Des Moines, Iowa; three great-grandchildren, Elliot and Elise Ferguson and Isabelle Hogan; a sister-in-law, Joyce Clark. Audy’s children, Beth Wemple of Victor, New York; Gary DeMay of North Carolina; and all of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren; one niece, Susan Beegel of Phippsburg, Maine; along with many other relatives and friends.
Preceding Jere in death are his parents, Russell and Miriam Ferguson; his first wife, Fran; his second wife, Audy; two sisters, Miriam Woodruff and husband Herb; and Barbara Beegel and husband Paul; and daughter-in-law Cynthia Flint-Ferguson; and a sister-in-law, Ann Hoy.
Jere’s was a life well lived and loved.
We will cherish his memory in our hearts.
May he be at peace in God’s loving care.