My name is Kelly Ferguson, and I am the granddaughter of Matt Ferguson and the daughter of Andy Ferguson. Matt, and his kids Matt, Andy, Terry, Timmy, Michael, and Mary Kate, said that they grew up with you and your family in the West Village. I had been living with my grandfather in his 11th Street brownstone for the last three years. He spoke fondly of your family when we read WestView together.
Matt passed away on Saturday, August 26th, after suffering a stroke. I wanted to reach out and see if his Times obituary could be posted in your paper, so that locals, who knew him from the neighborhood or St. Vincent’s Hospital, could read about his legacy.
— Kelly Ferguson
“Dr. Matthew James Ferguson (age 88) died peacefully in New York City on August 26, 2017 surrounded by his family. ‘Matt’ Ferguson had recently suffered a stroke.
Dr. Ferguson was born on December 12, 1928, in New York City and was the only son of Matthew Ferguson of County Leitrim, Ireland, and Annie Kate Feeney Ferguson of County Sligo, Ireland. He grew up on the Upper East Side and in the South Bronx with his older sister Nancy who became a Dominican sister. Dr. Ferguson also lived in Sligo as a child, where he honed a beautiful tenor singing voice and mastered a repertoire of Irish songs that he sang often. An alumnus of Providence College, he graduated from the New York Medical College in 1953, specializing in internal medicine.
After serving in the United States Navy as a physician in the rank of lieutenant, Dr. Ferguson worked for the Time Life Company and then joined the staff of St. Vincent’s Hospital, eventually becoming President of the Medical Staff. He remained on St. Vincent’s staff for more than 50 years, and also maintained a thriving private medical practice in his beloved Greenwich Village brownstone on West 11th Street until his retirement in 2004.
A Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Dr. Ferguson was dedicated to providing expert and compassionate care for his remarkably diverse population of patients. His skill, kindness, and good humor were the hallmarks of a life enthusiastically given to medicine and the source of inspiration for many doctors and nurses.
Dr. Ferguson was also a Federal Aviation Administration flight surgeon and served as North American Medical Director for Aer Lingus and KLM airlines.
Throughout his life, Dr. Ferguson assembled an important collection of American medical antiques and was an astute collector of antiques and art generally. A passionate and prolific wood worker, he leaves behind an extraordinary legacy of woodworking and fine furniture that he made in his cellar woodworking shop. One of his recent projects was the creation of his own coffin, simply rendered and wrought from butternut—one of his favorite woods.
Dr. Ferguson was a committed Adirondacker and built his own lakeside log cabin that he named ‘Kiltyclougher,’ after the tiny village in Leitrim from which the Ferguson family originates. There, in the Lake Champlain Region of the Adirondack State Park, visitors old and young were treated to his many talents, decent cooking, forced labor on a favorite project, a brilliant and curious mind, and his loving doses of storytelling and Irish poetry at the fireplace. He brought out the best in everyone quite simply because he looked for and found the very best in everyone he encountered.
Dr. Ferguson is preceded in death by his parents, sister Ann, beloved wife Margaret (Maggie) Smith-Ferguson, MD, and son Michael John Ferguson. He is survived by his children Matthew C. Ferguson, Terence G. Ferguson, Mary Kate Ferguson, Andrew T. Ferguson, and Timothy P. Ferguson; step-children Todd Smith, Sarah Welch, and Ann Maloney Taylor; former wife Mary Moore; daughter-in-laws Kristine M. Ferguson, Cathy Ferguson, and Kathleen Ferguson; and son-in-laws Paul Zins and Blaine Watson. Eighteen grandchildren will always adore their ‘Pop Pop.’ ”
The obituary for Dr. Matthew James Ferguson, which was originally published in The New York Times on Tuesday, August 29th, has been edited slightly.