Claude Ferguson
July 24, 2004

Captain Claude Harding Ferguson, also known as "Stub," "Fergie," and "2640," has Gone West. He "slipped the surly bonds of earth" and headed for his final resting place on July 24, 2004, dying peacefully at the age of 92 in Prescott, Ariz. Born in Nevada City, Nev. on Feb. 29, 1912, he dreamed of being a pilot and worked in mines as a young man to finance that dream. After receiving his early training flying biplanes in Canada in the 1930s, he became an instructor and went on to a 30-year career in aviation that included stints with Mid-Continent, Pacific Northern Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Bonanza Airlines and Hughes Air West, from which he retired in 1972 with a reputation as the consummate pilot. Highlights included serving as a test pilot at the Douglas Aircraft plant in Santa Monica, Calif. during World War II, and serving as the inaugural Chief Divisional Pilot for Bonanza Airlines in Phoenix. While there he was involved in transitioning the airline to F-27 turbo props, which brought a new era of commercial aviation to Ariz. He also was a member of Bonanza's first class to complete training on the DC-9, his favorite, and a longtime member of Quiet Birdman (QB) and the North East Phoenix Varmint & Big Game Hunter & Fisherman's Assoc. His children will remember him as an avid outdoorsman and fine role model who played the harmonica, wrote endearing poems, took them on countless family outings, and loved cocker spaniels and exploring the Pacific Northwest. He was preceded in death by two brothers, his parents, and last year by his devoted wife of 59 years, Loretta C. Ferguson. Survivors include children Michael Evan Ferguson and wife Ellen of Pelican, Alaska, Linda J. Barkman and husband John of Phoenix, Randy Lee Ferguson of Las Vegas, Nev., and Kelly Claude Ferguson and wife Camille of Sitka, Alaska. He also leaves 8 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Services will be private. Over and out.
Published in the Arizona Republic on 7/27/2004.