Gilbert L. Ferguson Sr., 94, Austin

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gilbert L. Ferguson Sr., 94, of Austin, Minn., died Thursday, April 4, 2013, at Owatonna Care Center, Owatonna, Minn.

Gilbert Ferguson

Gilbert Ferguson

Gilbert Leo Ferguson was born Nov. 28, 1918, in Wonewoc, Wis., to Robert and Laura (Solchenberger) Ferguson. He was the second of nine children, and he was always full of energy and intelligence. Whether he was playing with a hoop and a stick or painting his father’s car and driving it down a dusty road while the paint was still wet, he was always busy. In 1940, Gib married Eva Davis and they had two sons, James and Vernon. Gib and Eva were later divorced. In 1966, Gilbert married Bonita (Bonnie) Hallman and together they had four children, Kevin, Todd, Julie and Gilbert Jr. (Skip). Gib and Bonita were married for 46 years before her passing in January 2012.

At the age of 15, he left the family home and came to Minnesota. After working many different jobs in and around the Austin area, sometimes for $1 a day, he was personally hired by Jay C. Hormel in 1939. He worked for Hormel Foods Corp. from 1939 to 1982, with 41 years in the mechanical division, where he was a chief A engineer, a welding steamfitter and a refrigeration mechanic. Gib was a pilot in the Army Air Force during World War II, and a member of the Civil Air Patrol following the war. At the age of 50, he went back to school and attained his GED. He worked for Austin Medical Center from 1982 to 2001 as a maintenance engineer, caring for it as if it were his own home. While working full time, he also built more than 20 homes in Austin with his brothers Ed and John, doing everything but the electrical and plaster work.

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He really enjoyed working, fixing things, and spending time with his family and friends. Gib always had a hand to lend and a smile on his face. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Bonita; parents; brothers, Ed, John, LaVerne and Duane and sisters, Marge and Roberta.

Gib is survived by his children, James (Jeannie) Ferguson, Austin; Vernon Ferguson, Bloomington, Minn.; Kevin (Sandy) Ferguson, Lyle, Minn., Todd (Tonia) Ferguson, Austin, Julie (Jason) Murphy, Austin, Gilbert Jr. “Skip” (Sara) Ferguson, Maple Island, Minn.; 12 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; brother, Robert Jr. (Donna) Ferguson, Janesville, Wis.; sister, Leora (Chuck) Wyant, Austin; many nieces, nephews and friends.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 12, 2013, at Clasen-Jordan Mortuary with the Rev. Barbara Finley-Shea officiating. Interment will be in Grandview Cemetery. Military rites will be by Austin Post No. 91, American Legion and Olaf B. Damm Post No. 1216, VFW. Visitation will be at Clasen-Jordan Mortuary on Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. and at the funeral home on Friday for one hour before the service.