Duane Ferguson wasn’t born in Cimarron County, but he got here as fast as he could. duaneFerguson, who will be 74 on April 27, was born in Chicago and graduated from High School from Calumet High School in 1952. “My granddad Ferguson owned a foundry in Chicago, so that’s where my folks lived. But every summer, just as soon as school was out, I’d head out here to my Grandma and Grandpa Roberts, (his mother Gladys parents).” “My grandpa Charlie was who taught me how to farm,” Ferguson smiled. Duane missed out on military service due to the fact that he is color blind. “Mom, (wife Waunita), still chooses most of my clothes,” he shrugged. “The night I graduated I had my car packed and left for my grandpa’s house the next morning. I drove straight through. I took over the farm and put a crop in that fall.”

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Asked why he finally moved to Boise City and became a plumber, Ferguson replied, “Well it, (the Ferguson farm near Yarbrough), wasn’t enough to support two families. I’d been helping Frank Clifton farm, helping my dad.” But, I had a drinking problem and along about that time, I met a wonderful man by the name of Don Carson. And I asked him if he thought it, (not drinking) would work that way for me. He said it would if I wanted it to. I had a bottle under the seat of my pickup and I pulled it out, took two bubbles, and shoved it back under the seat. That was Sept. 2, 1974, and I’ve never wanted a drink since. “He, (Carson), went with me out to the hospital and I saw Sally Parker, she’s my guardian angel. She asked what i wanted. I told her I wanted to do something about my drinking. And she said well come with me. As I remember it, a nurse put a shot in me as I was walking down the hall. They put me in bed and put an IV in me and Don sat down in the chair beside me, and when I woke up the next day he was still there.” “I called my mother for her birthday, and she told me it was the best present she could have been given. Each year, we both celebrated our birthdays until she passed away. Ferguson gets emotional when he speaks of Carson, the sponsor who lead him to another path. “He told me that when I got out of the hospital that they’d give me something to help. They gave me Librium, or something, he told me to get rid of them and to ‘White knuckle it.’ And I did, and it was tough, but five months later he was gone. I attended his funeral and on the way to the cemetery I came by here and got a pill. It was a rough time. I’d lost my right hand. But it was the only time I used anything.” “I’ll for ever be grateful to that man, he saved my life. Because of him, I found the God of my understanding.” Duane and his wife began their business by painting and paneling. “I worked with Guy Freeman and that’s when I started plumbing, then I went and took the test and got licensed.” “Mom and I have been married 40 years. I met her when she came to pass inspection on me when I hired her son Don to work for me. Then we went out on a couple of dates…and it was two too many. I went back to Illinois to visit a cousin and I called her every day.” “She had seven wonderful kids and I had two girls that fit right in. I offered to adopt her kids, but that wasn’t what they wanted. Then after we’d been married 17 years Kim, (Kim Mizer), said that all through school she always wished she’d been adopted. Now she was already married, and I told her well I’ll adopt you right after Christmas, but why didn’t you say anything when I offered to adopt you?” “She replied, ‘that was 17 years ago…I was 18-months old!” Anyway, right after Christmas I adopted her.” “My kids helped me start the business and I ran it until about ten years ago when I shuffled it over to Delane, (Delane Schwindt, a stepson).” Asked if he still farmed, he explained that his land was in a no-till mode. “It’s not the way I was raised,” he laughed. Asked how he became involved with Camp Billie Jo, and the Christmas light projects, he replied, “It’s just something you do.” “I played Santa Clause for years, and we decorated the Caboose.” “I don’t remember how many years I’ve been putting up Christmas lights. But I’m a Christmas person, I love my Christmas time. It’s amazing how this all goes around so quickly; I’ve been involved with Camp Billie Jo for at least 30 years.” “I was in city government for 16 years, as mayor and on the public works committee.” “I’m on the board at the Next Step Treatment Center in Guymon.” “Ronnie Henshaw, Bill Myers and I used to do the Christmas lights…now we’ve lost Bill. “Ronnie and I used to run around together with Ray Witten, that was a hard one when we lost him. That was tough. “My parents were Lutheran and growing up I’d attend the Lutheran Church in Chicago and the Methodist Church with Grandpa Roberts.” “Several years ago, Mom and I quit going to the Lutheran church and we didn’t attend anywhere. Then one Sunday morning we got dressed and went up to the Methodist Church. I didn’t even need the stairs coming out. I floated out; once again I had found the God of my understanding. It brought back memories of my Grandpa Roberts, you know how it is, your grandparents help to develop you.” “I have 29 grand-kids and 14 greats; I have been well blessed, and I owe it all to Boise City.”



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