James L. Ferguson, professor emeritus of English, died May 12, 2021, in Charlottesville, Va.
Ferguson, 93, served Hanover’s English department for 29 years. He joined the College’s faculty in 1963 as an assistant professor and later served as department chair. He retired in 1992 as the James A. and Sophronia R. McKee Professor of English Literature.
He was born on April 26, 1928, in Iberia, Mo. He graduated from Hoover (Calif.) High School in 1946 and studied for two years at Glendale College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Occidental College in 1951 before serving in the U.S. Army from 1951-53. After military service in Hawaii, Japan and Korea, he returned to Occidental, earning a master’s degree (1955) and working as an instructor and teaching assistant while obtaining a doctoral degree in literature (1963).
Ferguson bolstered Hanover’s English curriculum, teaching literature and modern drama, including popular courses about John Milton and William Faulkner. In 1991, he published “Faulkner’s Short Fiction,” a study of the famed author’s short stories.
In addition to his classroom work, Ferguson and his wife, Lori, created and operated the Hanover Film Society for many years. The couple screened classic movies for the campus community and hosted post-film discussions in their home.
He was preceded in death by Lorice (Lori) Mittry Ferguson, his wife of 45 years, and by his parents, Oral Ferguson and Helen Rames Briggs.
Ferguson is survived by his daughter, Kathleen Chapman and her husband, David; daughter, Lynne Ferguson; sister-in-law, Jeanne Shikany; grandchildren, Thomas Chapman, Matthew Chapman, Samuel Chapman and Emma Chapman; niece, Lisa Shikany; and nephew, James Shikany.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Dr. James L. Ferguson Memorial Scholarship fund.