Fr. Gary Ferguson
The Rev. Gary M. Ferguson O’71 (’63-67), a retired Roman Catholic priest who served at parishes across northwest Ohio, died Sunday, October 11, 2015 in his home. He was 69.
He had chronic pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and renal failure, said his sister, Cyndie Lombardo. Father Ferguson retired from St. Peter Church, Archbold, and Our Lady of Mercy Church, Fayette, in 2012, after serving the sister parishes since 2004. He moved to Wauseon, where he continued to celebrate Mass in his home for holidays and family gatherings, Mrs. Lombardo said.
At St. Peter Church, he was instrumental in the construction of the parish activity center. He counseled people who attended the twice-a-week Alcoholics Anonymous meetings that he started at the parish. He also had ministered to inmates at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio in Stryker.
Mrs. Lombardo said her brother set his sights on being a priest while growing up in East Toledo and often pretended to celebrate Mass on an altar that he set up in his bedroom. "He probably had the calling since he was in mid grade school. He would play priest and me and my sister had to be the altar boys," she said.
He also was pastor from 1994-2004 of St. John the Evangelist Church, Stryker; from 1984 to 1994 of St. Mary Church, Bluffton; and 1978-1984 of sister parishes Sacred Heart Church, Montpelier, and St. Joseph Church, Blakeslee.
He was ordained May 29, 1971, by the late Bishop John Donovan and celebrated his first Mass two days later at Good Shepherd Church in East Toledo, where he attended grade school. His first assignment was as an associate pastor of St. Clement Church in West Toledo. In 1975, he became an associate pastor of St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Parish, Toledo.
He was born on Oct. 29, 1945, in Toledo to Alice and Donald Ferguson. After graduating from Central Catholic High School in 1963, he attended St. Meinrad College Seminary in Indiana and Mount Saint Mary Seminary in Cincinnati.
Sister Marguerite Lamberjack, a Tiffin Franciscan, was a friend who first became acquainted with him when she was pastoral leader at St. Joseph Parish in Blakeslee. "We got along real well together," she said. "His heart was always in the right place. He always did what was the right thing to do."
Father Ferguson's interests included the Roman Catholic Church history and Native American culture and heritage. His sister said he had traced his genealogy to find out that his family has Native American roots. "He taught a lot of different things. He knew a lot about different religions. History was his thing. He just knew so much history," Sister Lamberjack said.
Surviving are his sisters, Kathy Ferguson McGinnis and Cyndie Lombardo, and a niece and nephew.