George Ferguson was a con man for the ages. And Ferguson's obit, written by family members who are evidently still stinging by the way he chose to live his life, is one last twist of the knife, in the poor soul’s coffin. The retired Protestant minister in Canada is getting all the attention – too bad he’s now dead.
Here is the unflattering obit, in part:
What to say about George? Certainly, no one could accuse him of having been a loving son, brother, or father. He'd gladly have stolen the shirt off your back and he was generous to a fault with other people's money. Was he a small-time con-man with grandiose schemes? Probably. But another view of him is that he was the most exciting member of his family and of the families he married into.
The full write-up was carried by Legacy.com, and even carried a picture of our boy George. The primary writer, Karen Shirley, Ferguson’s 53-year-old daughter, said that the obit “told my version of his story. He had a sense of humor and there was some fun in it.”
Shirley wrote that her father was “a poor man's rhetorician who beguiled certain woman into buying into his promises and dreams.” Ferguson was also a United Church minister “who passionately improvised sermons for congregations.” Though Shirley writes: “It is impossible to say whether or not George was actually religious. Anyway, God's name rarely came up when George was flush.”
The obituary goes on to talk about George’s run-ins with the police, his favorite watering holes, and how he would “travel to and from these places on his senior's scooter, which he drove as recklessly – and sometimes as drunkenly – as he had driven his cars in earlier years.”
Shirley described the time spent with her father the day before he died:
The next day, we brought in some beer, toasted his life with him, drank with him, and helped him to make several thoughtful good-bye phone calls. He reminisced a bit and gave us a few unhelpful instructions. He died without pain the next evening, from a slow gastric bleed, with his wits about him and a light heart.
Turns out, his timing was impeccable: the next day we found out that he had been racking up ominous bank and credit card debts. Clearly, those supplemental incomes were about to dry up. In earlier years, George would sometimes slip out of a town after he had accumulated local debts and after the relevant woman's purse had been snapped shut. But of late, he was in no condition to skip town. And women just don't see old men on scooters as the stuff of their dreams - they see them as impending burdens. Perhaps George felt cornered. Perhaps he thought that, under his present circumstances, dying was the only way out. Whatever the story, no one can deny that George made his final exit with style and grace.
Horrific obits are nothing new. At least with this one, it appears George would have fully supported his daughter's well-written satirical summary.
Now here's an awful obit, written by the children of an abusive mother.
And while we're on the subject...