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Rupert Sylvanus Ferguson

Rupert Sylvanus Ferguson

July 16, 1927 - February 15, 2024
North Chesterfield, Virginia

Rupert Sylvanus Ferguson

July 16, 1927 - February 15, 2024
North Chesterfield, Virginia

Obituary

Rupert Sylvanus Ferguson, 96, went to his eternal home on February 15, 2024.

He was born on July 16, 1927, in Cumberland County; the second son of Silvanus and Blanche Addleman Ferguson.

The family lived in his paternal grandfather’s house until Rupert was four years old and they moved to Buckingham County. They rented a house in Andersonville, VA that was built in 1837. Their mail carrier was Mr. Anderson – yes, it was a very small town!

He and his older brother, Harold, had some interesting times growing up on a tobacco farm in Buckingham. We think this is where his sense of humor and love of telling stories and jokes began. For instance, their dogs were named U-Know, I-Know, Fatso, and Skinflint.

He loved to tell the story of the “only day they had running water”:

“Growing up in the country, we had no indoor plumbing. I was expected to take 2 pails to the creek to fetch water back to the house. On my way back from the creek one day, our turkey gobbled at me, so I decided to gobble back at him. The turkey chased me all the way back to the house – screaming for my Momma – and spilling a lot of water on the way. And THAT was the only day we had running water!”

Rupert graduated from Buckingham High School in 1944 in the midst of World War II. Shortly thereafter, on December 1, 1944, he attempted to enlist in the US Navy. After going through their testing protocols, he discovered that he was color blind. Apparently, you cannot serve in the US Navy if you can’t distinguish red from green! Undaunted by the “rejection,” he proceeded to enlist in the US Army. As Rupert observed, “I guess the Army didn’t care.” Years later, when he was invited to a fishing trip on the Chesapeake Bay, he found himself thanking God and the US Navy, when he realized that he became “seasick just walking down the dock!”

His duties led him to become a Clerk Typist in Company C, 4th Battalion in the Separation Center at Fort George. G. Meade in Maryland. One of his favorite (and most often re-told!) stories is this one:

“When I was growing up in Buckingham County our neighbors were named Cook, Kidd, Cox, Smith, and Jones. When I joined the Army, I worked in the Separation Center at Fort Meade. I was promoted to Corporal and one of my duties was to welcome the incoming recruits. I always tried to welcome them by name, but some of those names – like Astemborski, Todorovich, and Damritowski  – were pretty hard to pronounce. One day, a new recruit came in; I looked at his paperwork and his last name was Y-A-S-O-N-O-V-I-C-H. I took a deep breath and said, ‘Welcome to Company C, Private Ya-SON-o-vich,’ He very quickly (and indignantly) replied, ‘My name is Ya-so-NO-vich!’”

He was a “Technician Fifth Grade” when he received his Honorable Discharge on December 1, 1946, from Fort Meade.

After his military service, Rupert moved to Richmond and, through the ASTRP – Army Specialized Training Reserve Program, he was able to take classes at the Pennsylvania Military College in Chester, PA, and at VPI (Virginia Tech). His Physics Professor was Dr. Oliver Freud, Sigmund’s brother, and he still has a letter he received from Dr. Freud. He also studied computer programming – thinking that it just might be the wave of the future!

He then went to work at Bellwood (officially, the Defense General Supply Center) and worked his way up the ladder to become a Computer Analyst.

Rupert was always careful with his money and finances – saving money, making smart investments, and buying a duplex where he lived on one side and rented out the other.

So, how did he meet the love of his life, Doris Margaret Wiglesworth? His family was connected to the Lowman and Wiglesworth families through his cousin Edwin Woolridge who had married Evelyn Lowman. Evelyn was Doris’s aunt and neighbor. Rupert was a frequent visitor to the Woolridge home, which led him to connect with Doris and her sister, Joyce. Both of the Wiglesworth girls played basketball for Manchester High School and Rupert (who had his own car) would frequently offer to take them – and their Mom to basketball games. When Doris graduated, she went off to college and Rupert lost touch with her for a bit.

They reconnected when she left her first teaching job and returned to Richmond to live with her parents. They began dating and married on August 17, 1963. They honeymooned in Florida, then returned to live in his Aunt Cattie’s house on Dakins Drive, so they could care for her until she passed. A few years later, Doris found her dream house on Falstone Road where they moved and lived happily for over 50 years.

He often said that they “never exchanged a cross word.” He also said that it might have been because they never had children! He was convinced that Doris would have taken the old adage “spare the rod and spoil the child” quite literally – that you are SUPPOSED to “spare the rod” so you CAN “spoil the child!” While they didn’t have their own children to spoil, they both did their best to spoil their sixteen nieces and nephews and all the great-nieces and great-nephews as they came along.

Rupert retired from Bellwood in 1983 and began his second career as a volunteer and helper to anyone who needed anything. He was devoted to his family, his friends, his neighbors, his country, and his church.

  • He invited Doris’s sister, Joyce, and her daughters Karen and Denise, to live with them when annexation would have forced the girls to be bussed to city schools.
  • He helped care for Doris’s Mom, Margaret, who lived with them when she needed extra care in her golden years.
  • He mowed lawns and raked leaves for many of his neighbors.
  • He ran the Neighborhood Watch for Meadowbrook Estates where he was affectionately known as the community’s “Mayor.”
  • At Crossroads, where he lived his final days, he became the unofficial “welcome wagon” – writing notes and leaving them for newcomers when they moved in.
  • Every Election Day, he volunteered at the polls.
  • At Branch’s Church, he and Doris helped count money every Monday and participated in the Bereavement Committee whenever they needed food for a funeral.

And he was a “published author”! One of his stories was printed in “Reminisce” magazine:

“Growing up, our family only had a wall phone that required you to use a hand crank to call the operator who would then connect you to your party. You would speak into a mouthpiece attached to the front of the phone and hold a receiver to your ear. On one of my first days in the army, I had to make a phone call, so one of the secretaries in the office pointed to a Bell Atlantic Rotary Phone on the desk. Puzzled, but not wanting to ask for help, I put the handle to my ear and figured out how to use the rotary dial, But when the call seemed to go through, I told the secretary that I couldn’t hear anything. The secretary quietly walked up to me, took the receiver, and flipped it so that the speaker was now under my mouth.”

Rupert is now resting from all of his labors and rejoicing to join Doris, his parents, his brother Richard Harold Ferguson, his sister-in-law, Edna Ferguson, and all the others who have gone before him to pave the way to heaven.

He will be greatly missed by his many nieces, nephews, neighbors, family, and friends.

When he reached those pearly gates, we are all SURE that the Lord greeted him with:

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness.”

Visitation

  • Date & Time: February 24, 2024 (10:00 AM - 11:00 AM)
  • Venue: Morrissett Funeral & Cremation Service
  • Location: 6500 Iron Bridge Road North Chesterfield, VA 23234 - (Get Directions)
  • Phone Number: (804) 275-7828

Life Celebration

  • Date & Time: February 24, 2024 (11:00 AM - 12:00 PM)
  • Venue: Morrissett Funeral & Cremation Service
  • Location: 6500 Iron Bridge Road North Chesterfield, VA 23234 - (Get Directions)
  • Phone Number: (804) 275-7828

Interment

  • Date & Time: February 26, 2024 (11:00 AM - 12:00 PM)
  • Venue: Dale Memorial Park In The Mausoleum
  • Location: 10201 Newbys Bridge Road Chesterfield, , VA 23832 - (Get Directions)
  • Phone Number: (804) 748-5843

Branch's Baptist Church

Live Stream Of Services For Rupert Ferguson

Rupert Sylvanus Ferguson

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4 responses to Rupert Sylvanus Ferguson

  1. I worked with Fergie from the late 1950’s until he retired in the middle 1980’s at DGSC. When my husband and I moved to the Crossroads At Bon Air 2 years ago, Fergie was the first person to welcome us. He wrote a sweet note and put it on our apartment door for us to see when we moved in. He was a gentle and kind man everyone loved here at CABA. I will miss his smiling face always!! So sorry for his family’s loss!! I no longer drive and will not be able to be with the family on February 24Th but I’ll be thinking of all of you!!

    1. Karen Davis says:

      Sally,
      Thank you for your note. Rupert was so happy to be able to share some good times with you at CABA and reminisce about old times at DGSC. He will be missed by many.
      Fondly,
      Karen (and Maggie!)

  2. Ralph Lett says:

    A kind and gentle man for sure. He will be missed by me and all who knew him.

    1. Karen Davis says:

      Thank you, Ralph.
      He certainly was a gentle man and a gentleman. He did so much for so many.
      We know that he is celebrating with Doris in Heaven.
      Hugs to you!
      Karen

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