Joseph Elliott Ferguson, age 53 years of Niles, Michigan, father, grandfather, son, carpenter, deer hunter, and friend died unexpectedly, but of natural causes on Monday, October 4, 2021 at his home.
He was born on December 7, 1967 in Niles to Joe L. and Mara Lou (Elliott) Ferguson, and was graduated from Niles High School. He has been a skilled carpenter for his entire career, serving many local families and businesses as the owner and operator of Ferguson Builders. He also worked on several major commercial projects as a member of the Carpenter’s Union in South Bend, Indiana, Local #413 of the Indiana-Kentucky-Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC). One of those remarkable, multi-year projects was the Law Building at the University of Notre Dame.
In his youth, Joe was a competitive swimmer, motocross racer, and played the saxophone. He has developed his cooking skills over the years, eventually using a trailer mounted smoker to feed pork and chicken to large gatherings. He enjoyed starting the long, slow process before sunrise and tending the fire all day long, but the most important flavor element was his secret ingredient barbeque sauce, simply known as “Joe’s Sauce.”
He was a member of the Sons of AMVETS Post #1978 in Niles, American Legion Post #26 in Niles, and the Howard Township Conservation Club. He has hunted deer most of his life, usually bow hunting, and had a collection of trophy-worthy head mounts. He had a great sense of humor and a kind heart, always willing to help anyone, whether lending his skills for an unexpected house repair, or lending an ear and shoulder for unexpected life challenges.
Joe’s greatest interest was his family. This trait is best illustrated when asking Joe about his greatest hunting success. He would turn his back to all of his big deer, and instead tell you about the day in the deer stand with his thirteen-year-old son, and coaching Jake successfully through his first deer.
Surviving family includes his children, Jacob “Jake” (& Kayla) Ferguson and Sarah (& Jerrico) Lamberton, both of Niles; grandchildren Ellie Ferguson, Judah Ferguson, and Tatum Lamberton; Joe’s parents, Joe and Mara Ferguson of Niles; Joe’s sister, Joanie Ferguson of Atlanta, Georgia; his long-time companion, Angela Hoyt; many aunts, uncles, and cousins; and a wonderful circle of great friends.
He was formerly married to Stephanie Sain.
The memorial service for Joe Ferguson will be at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 16, 2021 at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles with the Rev. Dan Puckett of Buchanan, Michigan officiating. The memorial service will be immediately followed by a celebration of Joe’s life until 8:00 p.m. at the Fraternal Order of Police #95 – The FOP – Lodge, 531 North State Street in Niles. The memorial service will be available livestreamed on the Halbritter-Wickens Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/halbritterwickensfuneralservices/.
Contributions in memory of Joe may be made to the AMVETS Post #1978, 1117 East Bertrand Road, Niles, Michigan, 49120. Online condolences may be left at:
Joe began in his youth competing to be the best. Later, he worked hard to become a talented cook, skilled archer, and expert carpenter, all evidence of enjoying life and using it well. But more than all of those successes, Joe loved people, replacing tears with smiles, and enhancing a worksite with jokes and laughter; fulfilling the command to love God and love people, or perhaps best observed by his dad, Papa Joe: “Joe believed in Jesus Christ . . . and a cold beer.”