Cover photo for Chester Clement Ferguson's Obituary
Chester Clement Ferguson Profile Photo
1929 Chester 2016

Chester Clement Ferguson

July 24, 1929 — June 27, 2016

Chester loved God and his Country. Chet lived a life of service in his personal and professional life. He served as a merchant marine sailor and union representative, and as a member of the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Reserve. He spent time as a youth mentor and missionary. He also participated in local government. He is survived by his former wife, Johnnie Browers, daughters, Teresa Randall and Jeanne Anderson; sisters Mary Backous and Barbara Britton; Grandsons Gary J. Anderson, Scott Ferguson Anderson, Sean Cutright, Brian Cutright and numerous nieces and nephews.

Raised on Long Island, Chester was drawn to the ocean at an early age. He spent many of his young years at Rockaway Beach (where he eventually became a lifeguard). Chester soon developed a firm commitment to the pursuit of a life at sea. He went so far as to stow away on a Coast Guard Cutter when he was 13. Imagine what his father, New York City Police Officer William Ferguson, must have said when he arrived to pick Chet up from the Coast Guard Station! Chester was undeterred in his commitment to sailing the seas. At 16, he forged seaman's papers and signed on to the crew of a Norwegian ship carrying supplies across the North Atlantic. Keep in mind that it was 1945, and merchant ships were a target of German submarines and mines. Again, William Ferguson had to produce evidence of Chester's age to force his discharge from the ship. Upon his return, and after negotiations with his father, Chester finished high school, and attended The United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point. His father had convinced him that he could return to the sea, but as an officer after completing college. Chet returned to the sea as a merchant marine. He had many adventures along the way.

After the war, Chester sailed to Europe on merchant ships helping with post war operations. The port in Bremerhaven, Germany was used by peacetime forces as a major hub. Always a romantic, it wasn't long before he met a local girl and developed a crush. She introduced him to her family. When Chet discovered the family faced severe food shortages, he did what he could to smuggle food and cigarettes (for food bartering) to them. On another mission to Belgium, Chet, always a pet lover, was disturbed to find out a family could no longer provide food for their Persian tabby cat. Dad agreed to rescue it by sneaking it onboard the ship. He hid his furry bunkmate in his sleeping quarters. When the ship docked in New York, he convinced a longshoreman to hide the furry refugee in a lunch box. Skipper, the cat, lived happily ever after as the beloved pet of Chet's mother, Mary Ferguson.

When the family relocated to California, Chester finished his bachelor's degree at The California Maritime Academy in Vallejo. Fresh out of college, Chet enlisted in the Navy and served as a Navigator on The U.S. Blue destroyer during the Korean War. He participated in combat missions and witnessed things that he rarely shared with family.

After serving in the Navy, Chester was elected the Union Agent of MEBA (Marine Engineers Beneficial Association). He was instrumental in negotiating contracts and retirement benefits for the crews of U.S. Flag ships and ferries that traveled in and out of the in the Bay Area ports.

In addition to his M.E.B.A. position, Chester served as the City of Clayton's Planning Commission Chairman. During that time, he helped to design the city plan and organize the annual July 4th parade and celebrations. Chester was also active in the Mount Diablo Horseman's Association.

After retirement, Chester moved to Citrus Heights where he joined the Sacramento Caledonian Club, the VFW, the Placer County Navy League and mentored Sea Scouts. He also traveled to the Panama Canal, China, the Caribbean, and the Figi Islands, where his participated in a medical mission.

Throughout all of his life chapters, Chester never lost faith. He said it best in his 1940's journal entry:

"Despite the fact that at times I forget Him, My Master, I am a Roman Catholic by birth, and will always believe in God the Devine Father."

It is with great joy, that we know Chester has joined his beloved daughter Diane, Sister Carol, mother Mary, father William,
Uncle Bob, Grandma Rosa Antaki, and brother in law Hank Backous. We honor and celebrate his life in the knowledge that he is free from pain, loneliness, and the physical limitations of this world.
To order memorial trees in memory of Chester Clement Ferguson, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Starts at 1:00 pm

Heritage Oaks Memorial Chapel

6920 Destiny Dr, Rocklin, CA 95677

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Interment with Military Honors

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Starts at 11:30 am

Sacramento Valley National Cemetery

5810 Midway Rd, Dixon, CA 95620

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