Harry Ferguson, my father’s father, lived one of those rags-to-riches lives we call the ‘American Dream.’ He was born one of three children in Mont Clare, Pennsylvania in 1902. His father was an employee of the Reading Railroad. Harry was able to earn a scholarship through a local benefactor in Reading. This gave him the opportunity to attend the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, an elite preparatory school. There he waited tables and became good friends with another scholarship student named Ducky Pond. Pond would become one of the most famous college football players in America in the 1920s, while playing at Yale.
Harry turned down his own academic scholarship to Yale because he wanted to attend the University of Michigan to major in chemical engineering. His first job out of college was with Humble Oil in Baytown, Texas. He arrived there in the early 1920s. He made his way through the ranks of Humble, first serving as Director of the Technical Services Division, and then during the Second World War as Director of Refining in Houston. During this time Humble refined and produced more than one billion gallons of aviation-grade gasoline for the armed forces.
He retired in 1967 as Executive Vice President of the Board of Directors of a company that was then part of Exxon. He lived in Houston with his wife and three children, passing away in 1980.
I remember him with great fondness as a kind, generous, and gentle man. He touched many lives over the years and helped numerous family members and friends.