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Lela Mae (Gross) Ferguson
February 22, 1939 ~ February 2, 2024 (age 84) 84 Years Old
JERSEYVILLE – Lela Mae Ferguson, 84, of Jerseyville passed away on February 2, 2024, after a brief illness. Lela was surrounded by many loved ones and her beloved cat, Lil’ Bit, in her home at the time of her passing.
Lela was born in Jerseyville on February 22, 1939, to Claude and Mildred (Bowers) Gross. She was the third child of Claude and Mildred, a younger sister to Donald Gross and Doris Christiansen, and an older sister to Claudia Vaughn. Lela attended Jersey Community High School, where she met and fell in love with her husband, Ronald Ferguson. Lela married Ronnie at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Alton, and they enjoyed 57 years of marriage before Ronnie passed away in 2015. Lela and Ronnie were blessed with four children: Julie, Claude, Nancy, and Michael. By the end of 2023, Lela’s family had grown to include 11 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
During her working years, Lela was employed as a cook by Mrs. Waters, a cook at Jersey Community Unit School District #100, and cared for her family as a homemaker. Lela also was an integral founding member of the cook’s union at Jersey Community Unit School District #100. Lela loved sharing stories with her family related to her “mother” and “daddy”, the goings on amongst the members of her family, and topics meant to get a rise out of the listener, said stories showcasing her love and indomitable spirit.
Lela further showed her love through her actions, whether by providing meals, acting as a confidant and sounding board, having her snack and drink pantry fully stocked, creating handmade decorations as Christmas and birthday presents, or saying “be careful out there” every time someone left her house. She always stated how proud she was of the accomplishments of her children and her grandchildren, and loved watching her great-grandchildren grow. Lela’s home served as the nexus for her entire family, and more often than not you could find multiple visitors’ cars parked in Lela’s driveway.
Lela was welcomed into heaven by her husband Ronnie, her parents Claude and Mildred, her siblings and their partners Donnie and Marian Gross, Doris and Arden Christiansen, and Claudia Vaughn, her daughter Julie, and her great-granddaughter Mira, among others. Surviving are three of her children and their spouses, Claude and Jennifer Ferguson of Jerseyville, Nancy and Kenneth Scott of Fieldon, Michael and Nancy Ferguson of Jerseyville, Julie’s spouse Bill Christiansen of Jerseyville, her brother-in-law Jimmy Vaughn of Jerseyville, her 11 grandchildren, 21 of her great-grandchildren, and other relations.
Her family held a private service and burial for Lela, with her grandson Andrew Scott officiating. Lela was buried at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Cemetery in Jerseyville, next to her husband Ronnie. She will be missed by all of those who loved her.
For those desiring, memorials may be given to the Riverbend Humane Society, in care of Crawford Funeral Home, 1308 State Highway 109, Jerseyville, IL 62052, who has been entrusted with arrangements.