Although not a member of the Green Hill congregation, John Fergus was a treasured friend of our church family. Over the years we were able to call on him many times to fill in and preach on Sunday mornings. He could always be counted on for a wonderful sermon, usually with a baseball reference at its center. He will be dearly missed.
LT. COL. (Ret) John Robert Fergus of Enterprise, Alabama, age 75, passed away on February 3, 2021 after a brave, brief battle against a recurrence of cancer. His funeral service was held on Sunday, February 7, at First United Methodist Church in Enterprise. He will be buried on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, at 11:00 A.M., at Alabama National Cemetery.
John was born in Kansas City, KS on March 6, 1945 to Marion Kerr and Mary Jane Weatherbie Fergus. John is survived by his wife Betty, daughter Erin Fergus of Raleigh, NC, son Matthew Fergus (Amanda), and their children Jace and Jezzie Grace in Dothan, AL, and sister, Jan Hart (Tom) of Little Rock, AR.
John grew up in Kansas City, KS. He graduated from the University of Kansas. Immediately upon graduation, John joined the US Air Force in June 1967. Following Officer Training School at Chanute AFB, John met Betty Jane Nuttall in 1967. They were married in 1969 in her hometown of New Lisbon, WI.
Together John and Betty followed his Air Force assignments over his 24 years of service. Most assignments paralleled his interest and skills in education and communications. John was proud of his role in establishing the Community College of the Air Force from 1970-1973 while he was stationed at Randolph AFB.
John was stationed at Tan Son Nhut air base during the last days of U.S. troop deployment in Vietnam ending in 1973.
In 1976, the Air Force sent John to get a masters’ degree in Mass Communication at Florida State University in Tallahassee where both John and Betty earned masters’ degrees in 1977. John was stationed at Eglin AFB from 1977-1980.
John was delighted to return to the Community College of the Air Force at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery as the Executive Vice President from 1983-1989. After a stint with the Air War College, John retired from the Air Force in 1991.
In 1991, John served as Dean of Instruction at Alabama Aviation and Technical College, and then moved to Wallace Community College as Dean of Instruction where he loved to work with the students and faculty. The family moved to Enterprise in 1992 and established a 6-acre homestead with horses for fun.
John retired from Wallace Community College in 2008, the same year that Betty retired from Enterprise High School. John said his favorite job of all was being Betty’s husband so he had better quit so that they could enjoy these years together.
John filled his retirement with activities supporting First United Methodist Church and his community. He was a facilitator for Circles of Transformation, drove veterans to the VA hospital in Tuskegee, spread the message of Gideon’s International, substituted for local pastors and loved preaching whenever possible, and sent birthday cards to parishioners at EFUMC.
John had a gift for storytelling. Many stories would quietly spread God’s message of love and encouragement for those in need of hope and direction. He often used his early Kansas family in his stories and he highlighted the values of the farmland.
John deeply loved his wife, children, and grandchildren and all the time they had together. He was his children’s and grandchildren’s biggest fan. He shared his love with his sister and her family as well on trips and family occasions. He loved road trips, cowboy boots, the grinding station, Facebook, horses, cowboy church, Florida beach, mountains, Colorado in the snow, the west, John Wayne movies, and his cancer therapy cat, Sophie.
He would have liked to stay around for more of that….