Former Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico, Robert “Bob” Ferguson, 92, passed away at his daughter’s home in Mesilla Park, NM on October 3rd, 2016. Bob was born on August 5th, 1924 to James L. and Myrtle Ferguson, in Pineland, TX. His father moved the family to Artesia, NM in the early 1930’s, where Bob lived until he became ill in 2015.
Bob graduated from Artesia High School, and then attended Kemper Military College until 1943, until he enlisted to serve in the Army Air Corp 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 he served in included The Western Pacific and ground combat in Iwo Jima and Saipan. He received various decorations and citations, yet he was never one to mention such.
After returning home, Bob attended summer courses at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM, then moved to Waco, TX to attend Baylor University. Bob 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. They were married in 1948 at the Methodist church in Artesia, and after a two-month honeymoon, moved to back to Waco for Bob to finish his business degree from Baylor.
After graduating from Baylor, Bob and Rosie returned to Artesia, NM where he started his family, 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 twelve 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 folk’s 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 are his beloved wife of 69 years, Rosemary Ferguson, and his children; Robert Earl Ferguson, II, of Artesia, NM and his children Michael Ferguson, Shannon Ferguson, and McKayla Morrison; Debra Lee Ferguson-Hill and husband Jim of Las Cruces, NM, and their children Andy Hill, Candace Daugherty, Stephanie Willingham, Ross Crabb, and Jay Hill; James Ray Ferguson of Las Cruces, NM; Candace Ferguson-Rieger and husband Kyle of New Braunfels, TX, and their children Sterling and Rebecca Rieger; and 18 great grandchildren.
Bob is preceded in death by his father, James Lemuel Ferguson, mother Myrtle Gilchrist, sister La Donna Austen, sister Joy Fern Watson, and son Michael Martin Ferguson.
Visitation will be held at Terpening and Son in Artesia, NM on Thursday, October 6th from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Services and burial will be held on Friday, October 7th at 10 a.m. at First United Methodist Church and Woodbine Cemetery in Artesia, NM.
Rosie and family, I am so sorry to hear about Bob! I cannot find the word to express the love and respect I have for you all! I treasure my childhood memories of playing with the kids in your house that was always so full of love and laughter! Bob touched and made a difference in so many lives through out the year! He will be missed by so many! I just realized he was gone when I read of a memorial donation for him in the Portales Christian Children's home newsletter. I feel terrible that I did not know at the time. God bless you all!
Betty Williams Chancey
Betty Jo Williams ChanceyRoswell, NM
Deepest condolences to Rosie and all of the Ferguson family. I was so saddened to just learn of Bob's passing. There are so many lovely family memories. My prayers and thoughts are with you during this sad, sad time.
DeeBee WorthingtonGillette, WY
Rosemary and family - very sorry for your loss. I appreciated you all greatly as I was growing up in Artesia and later on when Bob hired me to work at the insurance agency. I enjoyed the job and enjoyed getting to know Bob better. I am so sorry he is gone, but he certainly lived a long, fine life. God bless all of you. Best wishes always.
Jon K. ThompsonCleveland, OH
Dear Rosemary and all of Bob's loved ones,
I am sad to hear of Bob's passing. He was a good, honest man; loved
by many people. God Bless You ALL as you mourn.
Sincerely, Susan Terry
Susan TerryAlbuquerque, NM
Rosemary and family, It feels like we have lost a family member after all these years of knowing Bob. I hope you can feel the warm memories of him and find peace and comfort. God bless you.
James R. And Sandra Terry TolliverEl Paso, TX
I am so sorry for your loss. Your family is in my thoughts.
Teresa Conner HornMidlothian, TX
My thoughts and prayers are with Bob's family. I worked for Bob in Artesia many years ago. He was a good, sincere man and honestly cared about people. May he rest in peace knowing that he left a legacy in his family and his contributions to the State of New Mexico.
Helen B. SalgadoLas Cruces, NM
Bobby helped me and my family all the time we were growing up. Was a special friend and will be missed forever. Thanks Bob..... Esther H. and family!!!
Esther FrazeeArtesia, NM
Please accept my condolences on the passing of Bob. He was the most honest,
considerate and caring man I have ever known. He would always meet you
with a smile and handshake. My heart and prayers are with each of you. He
will be missed. God bless you all.
Bonnie KilpatrickArtesia, NM
Rosie- My parents, Howard and Lil Achen, always considered you and Bob as good friends. We continued to be aware of all Bob was accomplishing through family that remained in Artesia (Wilna Achen, JN Hightower, Emaree Means) after we moved to Yuma, AZ. We have lots of old Easter pictures that include the Ferguson kids and I remember Rosie playing bridge with my mom. It is the time of life when many of us have already lost our parents and spouse. To soothe you as your move through this journey of loss, please relish the many memories of Bob and all the differences he made in the lives of others!
Gay Achen ThrowerYuma, AZ
My thoughts and prayers go out to all the Ferguson family. What a wonderful man! He was so lucky to have you all help him in his last adventure. May you find comfort in all the great memories...
Jacque WatersArtesia, NM
There's not much to say about Bob that hasn't already been said. One of the finest men I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Godspeed to you sir, Godspeed!
Vern BoltonRoswell, NM
My sincere condolences to all the family in your loss!! May our Lord give you comfort & strength!!
Winnie McCaw HayesKnightdale, NC
Debby and family,
I know how hard this is for you and your family. Our Dad's are so important to us and the caring they have shown us. I just loved your Dad and his caring attitude and voice. I know God has taken him to a very good place. Take care of yourself Deb and so sorry for your loss. Love you, Carol
Carol Green, Bill Sanders and Moureen SandersRoswell, NM
A great and good man. It is a privilege to have known him.
DONALD N DeMarsCOTTONWOOD, AZ
Always loved Mr Ferguson very sweet and gentle man. So sorry for your loss. Sending hugs and prayers.
Beverly SweattArtesia, NM
My deepest condolences to the Ferguson family. May you find comfort in the beautiful words found at Revelation 21:3 & 4, where God promises us that He will soon eliminate all pain, suffering and death. While we wait for this promise to be fulfilled, may the fond memories of Robert comfort you and ease your pain.
LoraMoreno Valley, CA
Heartfelt condolences to the entire Ferguson family.
Greg WatsonRidgecrest, CA
I have fond memories of my HS Sunday School teacher and friend. He was a wonderful person and inspiring leader. I will miss him, and I know you will miss him greatly. My condolences, Camile
Camille George-FlorezArtesia, NM
My mom (Wilna Achen) and I send our deepest sympathy, love, and prayers to your family in the loss of Bob. Mom loved working for Bob, and when I would go in the office, he would stop what he was doing and greet me with that great smile and a hug. Even though I was young at the time of his Lt. Gov. campaign, I have fond memories of helping my mom on his campaign team, and I was proud to say I knew the best Lieutenant Governor New Mexico ever had. May you be comforted by wonderful memories. God bless you all.
LuAnn BeardemphlLubbock, TX