VINTON – Michael Guy Ferguson, 62, died unexpectedly Monday, May 14, 2018, at Virginia Gay Hospital in Vinton following an apparent heart attack.
Funeral services will be held 1:00 p.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018, at the Vinton-Shellsburg High School. Visitation will be held at the high school from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 18, and one hour prior to the service on Saturday. Interment with honors provided by the Iowa State Sheriffs’ & Deputies’ Association will be in Evergreen Cemetery, Vinton.
Michael was born October 3, 1955, in Vinton, Iowa, the son of Myron E. and Helen Aleta Irvin Ferguson. He graduated from Washington High School in Vinton in 1974.
Michael built houses for Stulken Construction from 1973 until 1976. He then began his career in law enforcement with the Central Iowa Special Police and later served as a reserve officer for Benton County from 1978 until 1979. He was hired as a full time deputy by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office in 1980 and was promoted to the position of Chief Deputy and Jail Administrator in 2004, a position he held until his death. He taught Defensive Driving to First Responders and had been an accident reconstructionist for the Midwest Area Traffic Accident Investigators (MATAI). He was a member of the Iowa State Sheriffs ’& Deputies’ Association and the Benton County Peace Officers. Michael was a mentor to community youth, speaking at schools about peer pressure, drinking and driving, and making wise decisions behind the wheel and in life in general. He was known for his firearm proficiency.
In 1981, Michael met Lori Lynn Vonderheide at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy while both were training to be deputies. They were united in marriage on May 1, 1982, in Vinton.
Later in life, Michael found another calling and began religious studies for his role as a Certified Lay Speaker, and he began filling in for pastors in 1997. He began working as Pastor at the Shellsburg Presbyterian Church and the Mt. Auburn United Methodist Church in March of 2013. He became a Local Licensed Pastor on July 1, 2017. He left Shellsburg in December of 2017, but added the Brandon, Garrison and Stewart Memorial United Methodist Churches in December of 2017, while continuing to serve his congregation in Mt. Auburn. He spent countless hours remodeling and working on the churches he served, including Wesley United Methodist Church, because he felt that churches should be physically accessible to all.
Michael loved music, and he participated in the Cedar Rapids Follies for five years. He also supported his wife through her 24 years in the Follies and promoted her music, even moving a grand piano into her second story music studio in their home via crane. He acted as roadie and sound operator for the band UPSTAGE when the band “got back together” for RAGBRAI and Vinton’s Party in the Park.
He loved gardening, yard work, baking, cooking and trying new recipes, as well as spending time with his four-legged feline family. He traded construction favors with family and friends, earning the nickname, “Mikey the Mudder.”
Michael will always be remembered for living out his faith by the generosity and compassion he showed for others. He had a gift for relating the gospel to everyday life and everyday circumstances, inspiring those who heard him to accept and deepen their relationship with Jesus.
Michael is survived by his wife of 36 years, Lori, of Vinton; one brother, Patrick (Janet) Ferguson of Vinton; two sisters: Lorinda McCullough of Des Moines and Karen Rhinehart of Vinton; father-in-law Jerome Vonderheide of Lookout Mountain, GA; mother-in-law Estell (Larry Dolan) Torgerson of Vinton; brothers-in-law, Lee (Jeannie) Vonderheide of Cedar Rapids and Rolf (Kellie MacMinamen) Vonderheide of St. Augustine, FL; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a stillborn sister; and brother-in-law Tom McCullough.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established.
Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home of Vinton is caring for Mike and his family. Condolences may be left at vsrfh.com.