HASLETT, Mich. - George William Ferns, Ph.D, of Lansing, Michigan, was called home to Heaven on Wednesday, October 3, 2012. He was 85 years old.
His love, sense of humor and quiet inspiration will be missed by his family and friends. George was born on December 2, 1926, in Marquette, Michigan, to Earl and Esther (Parker) Ferns.
He is preceded in death by his parents and brother, Robert D Ferns. George leaves behind his loving and devoted wife of 62 years, Laura Isabel (Fillmore); his five children and their spouses: son Stephen Earl Ferns and Lori Cipparone of Glendale, Wis., Charles Dale Ferns (deceased), daughters Beth Ann Saltzman and Vroman Saltzman of Lemon Grove, Calif., Sarah Ruth Nandor and Robert Nandor, Jr. of Wildwood, Mo., and Martha Kaye Begly and Jerry Begly of Marble, Colo. He also leaves behind 13 grandchildren: Hope Saltzman, Jennifer Saltzman, Andrew Nandor, Christina (Begly) and David Mullinex, Christopher Saltzman, Aaron Nandor, Caleb Begly, Gabriel Ferns, Heidi Begly, Courtney Begly, Joshua Begly, Elijah Begly and Josiah Begly.
George William Ferns, Ph.D.
After graduating from John D. Pierce High School in Marquette, Mich., he earned his bachelor's degree at Northern Michigan Teachers College, his master's degree at Wayne State University and his Ph.D. at Michigan State University.
He was a member of the U.S. Navy from 1944-46 and was stationed at Ninth Naval District, Great Lakes, Ill., and in San Diego, Calif. He taught Industrial Arts in the Livonia Public Schools from 1950-51 and the Dearborn Public Schools from 1951-55. George worked for Michigan State University for 36 years as a professor in the Department of Education from 1955 until his retirement in 1991. A member of the MSU/AID Nigerian Project from 1963-66, he took his young family to Nsuka, Nigeria, and lived there for three years. He also worked at the Michigan Department of State for one year. A strong proponent of Industrial Arts Vocational Education he created and taught many programs across the State of Michigan encouraging young people towards a career in Industrial Arts. He also helped to design and create programs to update current Industrial Arts teachers competencies in emerging technologies across the state.
George loved to be outside and could fix anything. He was an avid skier (even at 85), hunter, a member of the Capital Area Orpheus Men's Group, family genealogist, member of the Ross Clan, an Eagle Scout, camper, hiker, loved to sail and was the past President of the Crystal Sailing Club. He was also a collector of VW Beetles and completely restored a plethora of cars for his family. Known for his sense of humor, you had to watch out! An active member of Asbury United Methodist Church, he had a servant's heart and was loved by all.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM on Sunday, October 7, 2012 at Asbury United Methodist Church, 2200 Lake Lansing Road, Lansing, Mich., officiated by the Rev. Martin DeBow. The family will receive friends from 1:00 to 2:00 PM at the church. For those desiring, contributions may be made in George's memory to the Alzheimer's Association, Michigan Great Lakes Chapter, 310 N. Main St., Ste. 100, Chelsea, MI 48118 or to the Asbury United Methodist Church.
The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.grlansing.com.