Robert Bruce Ferguson

NO. 17461  •  8 December 1925 – 5 January 1983

Died 5 January 1983 in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, aged 57 years.
Interment: West Point Cemetery, West Point, New York.


BOB WAS A leader who cherished and exemplified the ideals of West Point. Born 8 December 1925 in Plattsburgh, New York he was raised in Keesville, New York by his mother. Responsibility came early to Bob as he helped to care for his younger brother and managed newspaper routes. He developed a love for music in the study of the violin and oboe which he subsequently played in the Plattsburgh Symphony. It was during his early high school years that he first expressed a desire to attend USMA. After graduating as salutatorian in 1943 he studied at Braden's Academy. Unable to enter West Point that year, he enlisted in the Army at age seventeen. He served as a combat infantryman with the famed 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division. He was among the first troops to reach Dachau and free the prisoners.

When the war in Europe ended, Bob was in Austria and was offered a commission with the Occupation Army. Still determined to go to USMA, Bob reenlisted in 1945 and returned to the States to attend USMAPS at Cornell. Meanwhile, he continued to search for an appointment. Offered one to the Naval Academy in 1946, he turned it down and returned home to find an appointment to West Point awaited him.

From the beginning of Beast Barracks Bob excelled in all aspects of the Academy program. His experience in the Army plus his additional academic preparation enabled him to do extremely well and to help others who were struggling. While a cadet Bob was active in the Cadet Chapel Choir, Glee Club, Ski Club, Public Information Detail and Rifle Team. He wore academic stars but always had time to serve as a patient coach for classmates. During second class summer he was one of ten cadets chosen to participate in an exchange program with the French Military Academy, L'Ecole Polytechnique. As a first classman, Bob was a cadet captain, the commander of Company "C," 1st Regiment. His example as a leader and his value as a friend were firmly established at West Point and were widely respected by classmates throughout his life.

Following West Point, Bob was stationed in Austria for four years, initially with the 351st Infantry and subsequently with the Mountain Training center at Salfelden. In 1954 he went to Fort Benning, Georgia for parachute school and Infantry officers' courses. He was a company commander in the 29th Infantry in 1956 when he decided to leave the Army in order to assume the vice presidency of Frankson Furniture Company in West Ossipee, New Hampshire. During the seventeen years he managed this company, he became highly respected both in business and in the community.

On 28 December 1973 Bob married Charlotte Wood and took on the responsibility of three stepchildren. He became a marvelous father and succeeded in providing a balance of love and discipline by example which gave them a secure foundation for future development. He formed his own business by starting Wood Dimensions, Inc. in Tuftonboro, New Hampshire ... a wholesale lumber solid dimension business which tripled in volume in the first three years and is now being carried on by his family.

In 1982, two years after losing his younger brother to cancer, Bob learned that he also had cancer and was told he had one year to live. It was a terrible blow for everyone, but Bob was determined he would live as normal a life as possible. During his last year Bob spent many weekends at West Point with daughter Jennifer who was a plebe. It was very exciting for him to have her there. You can imagine his pride and satisfaction when Jennifer was selected as a company commander for Plebe Parent Weekend! He relived his days as a cadet through her experiences. He spent time talking with many cadets, being supportive and encouraging by expressing his appreciation for values he had acquired as a cadet. He also renewed and strengthened ties with many classmates. His cadet company, "C-1," had a mini-reunion which he thoroughly enjoyed. He was comforted by the fact that friendships with classmates and their families would endure and continue with his family after he was gone. Jennifer graduated 22 May 1985 as a cadet captain, battalion commander and is now a 1st lieutenant stationed in West Germany near where Bob was in World War II.

Bob conducted his business from the hospital and from his bed at home right up until four days before he died. He displayed fantastic courage. He never complained and did not wish to burden anyone with sadness. He believed that life had been good to him. He was determined to bear his cross bravely, and quietly taught his family what to do to carry on without him. He truly loved West Point and chose to be buried there. Bob was an extremely kind man, a wonderful husband, father and friend. At his memorial service, his minister aptly summed it up by saying, " . . . We acknowledge our lives have been richly and wonderfully blessed because we were privileged to walk part way with Bob."

- Charlotte and Classmates