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Robert Earl Ferguson

Robert Earl Ferguson

Services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 7, at First United Methodist Church for former lieutenant governor of New Mexico Robert “Bob” Ferguson.

Ferguson, 92, passed away Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, at his daughter’s home in Mesilla Park.

Interment will follow the services at Woodbine Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Thursday at Terpening & Son Mortuary.

Bob was born Aug. 5, 1924, in Pineland, Texas, to James L. and Myrtle Ferguson. His father moved the family to Artesia in the early 1930s, where Bob lived until he fell ill in 2015.

Bob graduated from Artesia High School, then attended Kemper Military College until 1943, when he enlisted to serve in the Army Air Corps during World War II. During the war, he spent most of his time on a ship as a remote control turret repairman for B-29 airplanes. Some of the battles and campaigns in which he served included the Western Pacific and ground combat in Iwo Jima and Saipan. He received various decorations and citations yet was never one to mention such.

After returning home, Bob attended summer courses at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, then moved to Waco, Texas, to attend Baylor University. He began writing to one of his sister’s friends, Rosemary Martin, while at college, and thus began the 69-year love story of Bob and Rosie. The two were married in 1948 at the Methodist church in Artesia and, after a two-month honeymoon, moved back to Waco for Bob to finish his business degree at Baylor.

Following his graduation from Baylor, Bob and Rosie returned to Artesia, where he started his family and business, and ultimately answered his life calling. Shortly after establishing a successful real estate and insurance company, he felt compelled to serve others, especially those who were often overlooked and unheard because of their race, income, and level of education. Bob believed that he was called to do more than just be sympathetic; he believed he could help the people of New Mexico better themselves by being their voice and standing up for what was true and fair.

He ran and was elected to the House of Representatives in New Mexico and served 12 years in the House, eight years in the Senate, and four years as lieutenant governor.

Bob was not only driven by public service, he was a devoted family man. He stopped by his folks’ house every day after work to visit with and check up on them. He loved spending time with his children and did everything from teaching Sunday School, attending his sons’ athletic practices and games, going to swim meets, and yes, even attending cheer practice with his girls! Bob’s dimpled smile would immediately brighten when anyone asked him about his children and grandchildren.

Bob Ferguson had a soft voice that carried over loud crowds, a genuine voice that brought hope and encouragement to every person who heard him speak. His true compassion for his family, country and state will carry on for generations as a testament of his hard work and dedication.

Those who carry on his legacy include his beloved wife of 69 years, Rosemary Ferguson; children Robert Earl Ferguson II of Artesia and his children Michael Ferguson, Shannon Ferguson and McKayla Morrison, Debra Lee Ferguson-Hill and husband Jim of Las Cruces and their children Andy Hill, Candace Daugherty, Stephanie Willingham, Ross Crabb and Jay Hill, James Ray Ferguson of Las Cruces, and Candace Ferguson-Rieger and husband Kyle of New Braunfels, Texas, and their children Sterling and Rebecca Rieger; and 18 great-grandchildren.

Bob was preceded in death by his father, James Lemuel Ferguson; his mother, Myrtle Gilchrist; sisters La Donna Austen and Joy Fern Watson; and son Michael Martin Ferguson.

Arrangements are under the direction of Terpening & Son Mortuary. Condolences may be expressed online at www.artesiafunerals.com.