Today we celebrate the life of Newt Vernon Ferguson – a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Newt was born on January 25th, 1944 and was called home to heaven on February 9th, 2024. He is preceded in death by his Mother Coney and Father Leonard Ferguson, his brother John, his sisters Lorine, Loretta, Annie Mae and Jewel, his son Thomas “Tommy” Ferguson, his grandson James “Jimmy” Bartok and his granddaughter Madison Ferguson. He is survived by his wife Lyda Belle Ferguson who spent 60 beautiful years with him, his children William “Vern” Ferguson and wife Tina, John Fredrick Ferguson and wife Rosa, Sandra “Sandy Jane” Ferguson and partner Randy and Christine “Charlie” Ferguson and partner Joshua. Newt was blessed to have such a full life of love and family. Grandchildren Douglas “Dougie” Bartok, Brian Matthew Bartok and partner Florence, Brenda Bartok and partner Joe, Tabitha Harvey, Megan Ferguson, Kelly Ferguson, Sarah Fadely and husband Joe, Samara Maxberry and Addison Maxberry. Great Grandchildren Aiyana Long, Luis Long, Jimmy Long, Caleb Long, Aiden Long, Brandon Bartok, Logan Jones, Kaylie Harvey, Chloe Fadely and Zoey Fadely. But above and beyond those listed here – he was a father and a grandfather to all who knew him.
To most, he seemed like a simple man. He enjoyed westerns – John Wayne and Clint Eastwood most of all. He loved to work with his hands and most of his free time was spent outside in his little wood shop where he made wooden toys, old Model T Fords and other Hot Rod style cars to give to his children, grand children and great grandchildren. There wasn’t a single thing that he couldn’t build with his own two hands. His knowledge of just about everything was invaluable. If it was broken – he could fix it. If he didn’t have what he needed to fix it – he made it. If he didn’t know how to make it – he fabricated it anyway. He really could do ANYTHING. His ingenuity was par to none. He coined the term “Hillbilly Rigged” – from his hand built lawn mower clipping collection system to his in ground Yellow jacket nest extraction shop vac. He truly was a genius.
Newt was a Heavy Machinery Mechanic for the Operating Engineers Local 150 and spent his career at Dyer Construction. He made many close friends there throughout the years and was well liked by all of his co- workers. During his time at Dyer Construction he learned how to tear apart the engines of bulldozers and excavators, cranes, backhoes and everything of the like and then how to put them back together – knowledge that he passed onto his sons, his daughters and his grandsons. He was his own mechanic at home as well. There was nothing that he couldn’t fix. Because of the time he took to teach all of the lessons that he had learned to the people that he loved the most – we can continue to carry that knowledge with us and in that sense, he’ll continue to carry on inside each and every one of us.
For those that knew him well, knew that he had a larger than life personality. He never met a bad joke that he didn’t like and would tell them often. For example, his idea of a dirty joke was that a little boy fell in the mud hole. He only had a few jokes that he would tell, but they were just as funny every time as they were the first time. He always wore a smile (except for when you wanted to take his picture – he was stubborn in that sense) and regardless of how he was feeling or whatever pain he was in, his spirits never failed. His priority in life was knowing that his family was well provided for and that we never wanted for nothing. The mold was truly broken when God made this man and today we celebrate that. His love for us, his love for his “Mamma Belle”, his love for his family. If we all could say one last thing to him, it would be for him to go ahead and rest now – to which he would just reply “Don’t call me gourd head” – so we’ll just say we’ve got it from here Dad, and we’ll see each other again.