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World War II Veteran L.D. Ferguson is Why We Celebrate Nov. 11

Lee David 'L.D.' Ferguson, 94, of Marble Falls passed away Oct. 26, 2017. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Courtesy photo

MARBLE FALLS — He was a member of what we commonly refer to as the “Greatest Generation,” and in many ways, Lee David “L.D.” Ferguson epitomized that moniker.

Ferguson is one of the reasons we celebrate Veterans Day, even though the 94-year-old World War II and Korean War veteran didn’t make it to see this year’s holiday, which is Nov. 11.

Ferguson passed away Oct. 26, 2017, in Marble Falls.

His friends describe him as a sweet man and a good neighbor. At the time of his death, Ferguson lived in the Pecan Valley neighborhood of Marble Falls, but his formative years started in the Fairland area, where he grew up on his parents’ farm.

As a kid, Ferguson attended classes at Fairland School, but eventually, the small, country school joined with the Tobyville school and later Marble Falls. As a teen in the Texas Hill Country during the late 1930s, Ferguson faced a tough economic future as the country felt the pinch of the Great Depression.

However, the young man found work with the Civilian Conservation Corps. He didn’t have to go far, helping out in Burnet County. He cleaned Longhorn Cavern and even hauled in and placed those immense boulders you see along Park Road 4. Ferguson would often point out those boulders to friends as they drove down the road.

As the United States entered World War II, the demand for ships grew. Ferguson headed to the Houston shipyards, where he worked as a welder and shipbuilder. This, mind you, was all before his 20th birthday.

Ferguson didn’t shy away from work.

In February 1943, at the age of 19, Ferguson volunteered for the U.S. Army. This was a time when the United States and its Allies were in a full-out, brutal war in both Europe and the Pacific. He could have bided his time to see if Uncle Sam would draft him, but instead, he raised his hand and took the oath on his own accord.

He ended up as a member of the infantry and landed in the Philippines and New Guinea, a world far removed from the Hill Country.

During the New Guinea Campaign, which lasted from January 1942 to the end of the war in August 1945, Ferguson found himself in some very tough conditions. He was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.

After World War II, Ferguson’s stint with the military wasn’t over, though he did take a break from active duty at one point, only to sign up again and make the Army his career.

Ferguson went on to serve in the Korean War. Though not as well-known as other conflicts, the Korean War had some of the most brutal conditions due to cold weather and terrifying combat.

During his military career, Ferguson served at Fort Polk in Louisiana and Fort Hood and Fort Bliss in Texas as well as in Germany during the occupation after World War II. Friends said Ferguson loved Germany.

Eventually, he retired from the Army in 1968, and he and his wife, Leona, settled outside of Little Rock, Arkansas, where they ranched. Ferguson leased about a 1,000 additional acres to raise hay and cattle.

In 1996, the Fergusons returned to Marble Falls, where they settled in a house off Lake Marble Falls in the Pecan Valley area.

Even in “retirement,” L.D. Ferguson continued to work and contribute to the community. He served as the director of operations for the Marble Falls Senior Activity Center as well as its treasurer. He helped move the center to its current location at 1200 Seventh St. in Marble Falls.

The center is hosting Ferguson’s memorial service at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Leona; parents, Samuel and Clara May Ferguson; brothers Vernon Harwood Ferguson, Deward Riley Ferguson, and Dewy Lyndon Ferguson; and sister Katherine Elizabeth Cox.

He is survived by stepson, Errol Sylvester; stepdaughter, Brenda Whiteman; sister Beulah May Mills; brothers Samuel Riley Ferguson Jr. and Larry Riley Ferguson; and two grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild as well as a number of friends.

It’s rather fitting to have his service on Veterans Day as he was one of the numerous veterans who not only served their country while in uniform but also the community once out of uniform.

Though there are no monuments built in his honor, Ferguson epitomizes the idea of a veteran: one who does what they are called to do without fanfare or expectation in service to their country and others.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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