Janet Oetting Ferguson

May 31, 1934April 1, 2019

It was a sad day on Lake Murray on a beautiful first day of April when “The Hostess With The Mostest” went to join her beloved husband, Gene, in heaven. He has been waiting there for her since June 3, 2009, along with Janet’s parents and two sisters and many others she and Gene loved. Oh, how they will all treasure it when she hosts one of her famous lasagna parties up there, just as she hosted Gene’s USC voice students and other friends and relatives on a regular basis. No one could host a dinner, party or celebration better than Janet.

Janet is survived by her four children, Rick (Dee) Ferguson of Colorado Springs, CO, Kathy (Werner) Neven of Heimerzheim, Germany, Chris (Ken) Graves and Randy (Sabrina) Ferguson, of Greenville, SC. She is further mourned by nine grandchildren, ten great-grand sons, and many, many other family and friends.

A member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Janet will be fondly remembered as one of the choir’s faithful, when she was still able to attend. Her beautiful soprano voice graced the sanctuary under the direction of her husband, Gene, there for many years.

Gene and Janet grew up in small Missouri towns, but they took their family to see the world, and lived, among other places, in Germany for many years while Gene sang on various stages of European opera houses. Oh, how proud she was of Gene, and what a love story Gene and Janet had! They were a beautiful example of a loving couple, and were an inspiration to many.

A strong believer in higher education, Janet earned three university degrees, including a Master of Music and a Master of Social Work. It was with this last degree that Janet performed some of her best deeds. She lovingly worked for many years at the Bryan Dorn VA Hospital in Columbia, helping hundreds of veterans with their struggles with PTSD, re-entering the civilian world, and receiving the benefits to which they were entitled. One of the vets loved her so much that he presented her with his Purple Heart medal upon her retirement.

Janet’s children thank the many friends and family for their thoughts and prayers, visits, notes and cards, food, flowers and love. A big thank you goes to Donald and Connie Gray, who took special care of Janet after Gene’s death. A huge sports fan, Janet loved watching any sport the Gamecocks played. Not many football games were played without Donald and Connie there watching with her, and always with something sweet to eat. Donald also dropped by regularly to trim Janet’s bushes and have a nice visit before he departed to do a good deed for someone else.

Also priceless were Janet’s caretakers from Always Best Care. Sweet Lovern Benn is especially loved by the family for her affectionate, attentive care given to Janet during the last months Janet was still able to live in her home. It was only after her last hospitalization in February that Janet finally agreed that she needed more care than she could receive staying in her home, and she became a resident at Wellmore of Lexington. Two physical therapists that were especially dear to Janet were Josh and Mary.

All who worked with Janet loved her. All who attended her parties admired and adored her. And anybody who was down on their luck went to her for advice and counsel. She was a gift to the world…and to her children. She will be missed. But, she will finally be reunited with her beloved Gene.

Visitation will be Friday, April 5th, 5-7 p.m. at Dunbar Funeral Home, Dutch Fork Chapel, 7600 Woodrow St., Irmo, SC. Funeral will be on Saturday, April 6th, at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1715 Bull Street, Columbia, SC. A luncheon will be provided after the service in the Fellowship Hall. Final interment will be in Windsor, MO, next to her husband.

Memorials may be made to the Gene Ferguson Scholarship Fund, University of S.C. School of Music, Columbia, SC 29208.


  • Visitation Friday, April 5, 2019
  • Funeral Service Saturday, April 6, 2019

Janet Oetting Ferguson

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ruth Mustard

April 4, 2019

I worked with Janet at the Dorn VA Medical Center. I went with her on many a community nursing home visits during Desert Storm when I covered for the regular nurse on the team who was deployed. Janet was so well-loved by all, and she did so much good for Veterans. She shared her musical talents with us, too, and directed a VA choir for several years. I helped accompany the choir at times, and it was always a treat to be able to have so much fun with this wonderful lady. Sincere sympathy to all of the family from her VA family, including all of the Veterans who loved her dearly.


April 3, 2019

Dear Chris,
I was greatly saddened when I learned of your mom's death. I want to express my deepest condolences to all in the family. I know this has got to be a painful and difficult time for all of you. I had just visited your mom last week. I was so glad that I got to see her several times while she was at Well More. I first met your mom in the mid 90s when both of us were working in the mental health dept. of the VA hospital. We quickly established a friendship which I will always cherish. Your mom was always such a positive and nurturing person. I loved her sense of humor. We could talk about anything with each other and she gave me sound advice on many issues over the years. In the last several years we used to get together for lunch at her house and would talk for hours. We had quite a few things in common, given that I was born in Germany, had relatives there, would visit there on vacations and had worked there for 5 years as a civilian psychologist with the Dept. of the Army. I enjoyed her stories about the family's life in Germany. I was sorry to see that this past year was so difficult due to her increased medical issues. However, I'm glad that your mom was able to stay in her own home for so long and receive much of her health care in familiar surroundings. She was always so glad that she had the long term health care insurance to offset much of the cost of that care. Every person who ever encountered your mom just loved her. She just had that way about her. And that's why all of us will miss her dearly. I know she's happy to be reunited with your dad. She was always sad about the fact that he didn't really get much of chance to enjoy their lovely home on the lake. I'm sure it must have been a terrible blow when she realized that her current situation would not allow her to return there. Your mom told me she was ready to move on to the next life. What a full life she led. I pray that the support of family and friends will ease some of your pain.