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Forrest Ferguson

Arthur Graphic-Clarion of Arthur, Illinois

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Forrest Ferguson of Sullivan, aged 87 years, 1 month, and 17 days, passed on to his eternal home at 4:56 P.M. on Friday December, 20, 2013, at Mason Point in Sullivan. He was surrounded by a host of supportive members of his family who bid him farewell through tears of sorrow and grief as he passed from this life to eternity.

A funeral service to honor his life was held Tuesday morning, December 24, at Lake Land Church of Christ in Mattoon where his son, David Ferguson, has ministered and preached since 2003. Minister Ron Bartenan officiated. Burial with Military Rites was in Ash Grove Cemetery in Rural Shelby County. Visitation was held Monday evening, December 23, at the church. Edwards Funeral Home of Areola assisted with the funeral arrangements.

Forrest was born on Wednesday, November 3, 1926, in Big Springs Township in rural Shelby County. He was the son of Gus and Mary (Corkwell) Ferguson. His birth on that autumn day marked the final addition to the Gus and Mary Ferguson family.

On Monday, October 1, 1951, in the formal living room of the home of Leonard and Gracie Bilyeu of Florissant, Missouri, he married Jacqueline "Jackie" Futrell, who had been lovingly fostered by the Bilyeus; Forrest and Jackie's marriage lasted 62 years, and Jackie survives.

Also surviving are six children, Leonard Ferguson of Mattoon, Lonnie Ferguson of Shakopee, Minnesota, Gracie Longstreet of Pasca-goula, Mississippi, Rickey Ferguson and wife Annette of Areola, David Ferguson and wife Carey of Mattoon, and Donna Ray of Mattoon; 20 grandchildren; 17 greatgrandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

Forrest was preceded in death by his parents, Gus and Mary Ferguson; three brothers, Clarence Ferguson, Warren Ferguson, and Dwight Ferguson; three sisters, Doris Russell, Gail Casstevens, and Irene Blake; and his son, Leland Ferguson.

Forrest served his country both honorably and courageously in the US Army, serving in both World War II and the Korean War.

Forrest was affectionately known locally as "the Greeter who tells the jokes" at the Mattoon Wal-Mart store where he worked for more than 19 years throughout his "retirement." He held numerous occupations throughout his life, including but not limited to time as a farmer, a deputy sheriff in Moultrie County, a custodian throughout Sullivan Community Schools, a machinist at Brach's candy factory in Sullivan, a night watchman, a service attendant at the old Platolene 500 gas station in Sullivan, and in most recent years, a greeter at the Mattoon Wal-Mart store.

Forrest was a member of the Grant Street Church of Christ in Sullivan where he served as a member of the congregation's leadership.

Forrest, who often answered to the nicknames of both "Woody" and "Frosty," loved meeting and greeting people. He loved spending time with his family and friends, and he looked for opportunities to make people smile and have a good laugh. He never met a stranger.

Giving us one final metaphor pointing to the selfless spirit of the man, in lieu of flowers, Forrest asked that donations be made to the Wal-Mart Children's Miracle Network.

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Original Publication Date: January 1, 2014

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