Our Eddie

Ed Ferguson at the 38th Parallel, Korea, 1954.

Ed Ferguson at the 38th Parallel, Korea, 1954.

More Character than Legend – More Legend than Ordinary

How can it be possible – to feel both full and empty at the same time? Filled with a lifetime of memories fleeting past in rapid succession and yet a vast emptiness, a hollowness that yearns for one last conversation.

Our Eddie left us yesterday…and so it started, or perhaps restarted, a life of experience, unique to him and shared with his own. Edward William Ferguson was a Lethbridge boy, the famed bridge in Southern Alberta being his play thing having crossed and climbed every beam and walked every tie. The Second World War brought him directly into the Canadian home front collecting salvage or driving tractor as German Prisoners of War worked the field while the Veterans Guard rested.

Not for the feint of heart. Bridge on the Old Man River, Lethbridge, Alberta.

Not for the feint of heart. Bridge on the Old Man River, Lethbridge, Alberta. 1,624 metres long (5,327′) and 95.7 metres high (314′)

Dad was a rolling stone, knew his own mind and learned how to make it work for himself and his family, mother Jane and sister Joyce. His younger self worked harvesting sugar cane, packing and canning at Broder Cannery, picking fruit in the Okanagan, playing hockey for pocket money, or sinking called shots in snooker. Sometimes, I think, it was while shoveling cement on an Alberta dam project in the late 1940s that our Eddie decided there was a better way. (Dad gave up hockey as, although a Red Wings prospect, there was “No money in the NHL in them days!”)

That first better way was at McGillivray Mines in the Crow’s Nest Pass where Dad spent the days at the coal face and after hours joined his friends for cold ones and listened to Hank Williams tunes picked and strummed on a fine Gibson acoustic. It was about this time that Eddie got his first work related tattoo a Bugs Bunny portrait captioned, “Hi Charlie!” However, after a serious accident where Dad was hit by a runaway coal car and spending six months in a body cast, he volunteered to go to Korea.

Much inspired by his Uncle Lewis Mills a veteran with the 15th Field Regiment (R.C.A.) Eddie joined the Canadian artillery at Currie Barracks serving with 119 Light Anti-Aircraft Battery at Gordon Head and Fort Rodd Hill, Victoria, B.C.. Determined to go to Korea his path took him to the Canadian Postal Corps where suddenly his wishes to see the world came to fruition. Eddie was sent to Korea and Japan and later served across Canada, Germany, Sardinia, Egypt, Lebanon, the Belgian Congo and Cyprus. Always the character he repeated his youthful riding the rails travels in Egypt once hopping a freight from El Katar to El-Arish via Rafah.

Sergeant E.W. Ferguson, Royal Canadian Postal Corps, Leopoldville, Congo, 1961.

Sergeant E.W. Ferguson, Royal Canadian Postal Corps, Leopoldville, Congo, ca. 1960.

My Mom, who he met before he shipped out to Korea, was rather proud of being a war bride. Eventually they were to go on separate paths and for many years Dad ferreted his way along alone, working as a Postmaster,  until he met his grand friend Marg in his retirement. We will always miss our Eddie, more character than legend – more legend than ordinary and stronger than most. His path was only unencumbered because he moved the rock, he found the way. He chose to lead when leadership was not always there for him and with me he found a way to pass along some of that bear-like strength.

Earlier today as I sat and pondered what tune could possibly mirror his life I thought of Guy Clark, whose presence is not unlike that of my father – uncomplicated, classic and expressive. Yes Eddie saw much and though he saw many things I will see the David and the Mona Lisa for him. Thanks Dad – missing you is an understatement.

Dad – wherever you go from here there will always be a new shining star above. Don’t let them bug you our great bear father, friend and soulmate. Miss you forever….Love from your Jr. Cub.

About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.


2 Responses to “Our Eddie”

  1. Shannon says:

    Well written Paul, as always. A wonderful tribute to your dad. Will miss Eddie.

  2. pferguson says:

    Celebration of life for Our Eddie…
    Veterans Cemetery, Esquimalt
    Friday November 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm
    Donations to the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund

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