On Nov. 3, 2013, Winifred (Pegg) Ferguson died at the age of 93, at the Never Sweat Ranch, six miles south of Brewster, where she was lovingly cared for the last three years of her life by her daughter Elizabeth and her granddaughters. Peg resided on the Never Sweat Ranch from 1945 until 2001, when she moved to Burwell to the Plaza and later into CMHC Friendship Home Assisted Living.
Private inturment will be in the Brewster Cemetery, with Memorial Services at the Brewster Congregational Church Sunday, Nov. 10, at 1:30 p.m., followed by a luncheon at the American Legion. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Brewster Congregational Church memorial fund or the Brewster Fire and Rescue Department, Brewster, Nebraska 68821.
Pegg was born in Cripple Creek, Colo., Aug. 17, 1920, to Josephine Decker McGinnis and Peter Claude McGinnis. Pegg was the oldest of three children born to this union. Because of a break up of the family, Pegg and her younger brother, Claude (Bud), were placed in the Colorado Childrens Home in Denver at the young ages of 6 and 4. They remained in various foster homes until the fall of 1929, when they were taken in by Arthur and Pansy Hale Nicolarsen who farmed southeast of Kit Carson, Colo. She was thankful that she and her brother were able to be raised together in the Nicolarsen home and were adopted by them in 1939.
Pegg loved music, and remembered classical music playing in her home as a small child. Her Aunt Frida Nicolarsen lived in the Nicolarsen home for a short time with her piano and taught Pegg a few lessons. At Kit Carson Schools she learned to play the French horn from her Uncle Charles Kirk who had played under the direction of John Philip Sousa. After moving to the Sandhills she sang at many funerals and the first piece of furniture she and Harold purchased for the home was a piano which all of their children learned to play.
In 1939, Pegg graduated from Kit Carson High School, and in 1940 her father drove her to Denver to look for work. She stayed with Aunt Mable, a former foster mother, and got a job as a dental assistant on Lowry Field.
She moved into the YWCA and it was there at a dance that Pegg met Clayton Maloy, an Army Air Corp photographer. On Aug. 24, 1941, they were married in Clayton, N.M. In December, Pegg joined him at McDill Field near Tampa, Fla, and later at Wright-Patterson Field near Dayton, Ohio, where Pegg worked in the photo lab. On July 9, 1943, Clayton was killed along with eight other men in a midair two-plane crash while he was photographing a tank being dropped by parachute from another plane. Clayton was buried in Pagosa Springs, Colo., and Pegg moved to Denver and resumed her job at the dental clinic at Lowry Field.
January 9, 1944, Pegg met Harold Ferguson at his son Mark’s first birthday party held at the home of mutual relatives where they were living. Mark’s mother, Maebell Pinnell Ferguson, had died of an asthma attack the previous October and Harold had moved to Denver to work and for child care. Their first date was to the Denver Livestock Show.
After Harold moved back to the Never Sweat Ranch in Blaine County to ranch with his father and brother they continued their relationship through correspondence for two years. November 9, 1945, Pegg and Harold were married in Denver and returned to the ranch where they raised their five children: Mark, Linda, Debra, Joanne and Elizabeth.
“That Woman From Denver” was happy to have electricity, indoor plumbing and a fenced bluegrass yard around her home to keep the kids in and the chickens out. Pegg worked hard feeding her family and hired men and became a wonderful cook in the process, passing along her cooking and sewing skills to children and grandchildren. Pegg and Harold joined the Brewster Congregational Church Dec. 12, 1954. She was a member of the Women’s Fellowship, taught Sunday school and was church historian for many years.
She was a charter member of the Brewster EMT and of the BPO Does in Broken Bow. She maintained her interest in photography, having a dark room in the basement doing Christmas cards for the Ferguson families. She was an early supporter of the Nebraska Educational Television Network (NET) and Nebraska Public Radio, and was ahead of her time installing solar heat in her home in the early 1980s. Pegg was active in helping compile information for the Blaine County Centen-nial history book, contributed articles and editorials for the Custer County Chief, and an activist in her community, writing to her elected officials and working to keep property taxes affordable for ranchers. Although her dream of reuniting with her little sister, Alberta Mae, never happened, in her 80s she was able to reunite with her newly discovered older half-sister, Anne, and her daughters.
Pegg treasured her family and friends. She had a great sense of humor, was quick with a witty come-back, even in her later years when she was suffering from Alzheimer’s. She was a wonderful storyteller, sharing many bedtime stories with her children about her growing up years.
Pegg is preceded in death by her parents, husband, all of her siblings, and granddaughter Jennifer Ferguson.
Pegg is survived by her five children: Mark (Sherry) Ferguson of Billings, Mont., and children, Gina (Greg) Herbert, James (Candice) Ferguson, John Ferguson; Linda (James H.”Sandy”) Kyle of Snohomish, Wash., and children, Tate (Wendi) Kyle, and Kristine (Michael) Williams; Debra Ferguson (Christopher ‘Kit’ Thanel) of Fergus Falls, Minn., and children, Katherine, Tiffany, Rebecca Thanel and Sara (Josh) Thanel Dukart; Joanne Ferguson Cavanaugh (Rick Stone) of Papillion; and Elizabeth Ferguson of Milburn and children, Sybil (Jason) Ryker, Beau (Jill) Dilsaver, Jake (Carrie) Dilsaver, Jessie (Phillip) Saner, Heidi (Dakota) Button, and Hannah (Tyler) Richards.
Granny Pegg is survived by 24 great-grandchildren: Tyler and Kirstin Herbert; Bailey, Arionna, Teaghan, Lachlan and Brennan Ferguson; Colby and Kallie Kyle; James and Savannah-Lin Williams; Mattie and McClellan Ryker; Nikki, Tamara, Carl and Cordell Nilson; Woodrow, Destynee, Clayton and Addyson Dilsaver; and Warren, Taelynn and Ayden Myers.
Published in Custer County Chief, Nov. 7, 2013