George Ferns

December 2, 1926October 3, 2012

George William Ferns, PhD 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 & Lori Cipparone of Glendale, WI; Charles Dale Ferns (deceased), daughters Beth Ann Saltzman & Vroman Saltzman of Lemon Grove, CA, Sarah Ruth Nandor & Robert Nandor, Jr. of Wildwood, MO, and Martha Kaye Begly & Jerry Begly of Marble, CO. He also leaves behind 13 grandchildren: Hope Saltzman, Jennifer Saltzman, Andrew Nandor, Christina (Begly) & David Mullinex, Christopher Saltzman, Aaron Nandor, Caleb Begly, Gabriel Ferns, Heidi Begly, Courtney Begly, Joshua Begly, Elijah Begly and Josiah Begly. After graduating from John D Pierce High School in Marquette, MI, he earned his bachelor degree at Northern Michigan Teachers College, his master’s degree at Wayne State University and his PhD at Michigan State University. He was a member of the US Navy from 1944-46 and was stationed at Ninth Naval District, Great Lakes, IL and in San Diego, CA. 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 Rd., Lansing, MI officiated by the Rev. Martin DeBow. The family will receive friends from 1:00 – 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


  • Memorial Service Sunday, October 7, 2012

George Ferns

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Lynda Barry

October 20, 2012

I will miss you. The name you gave me years ago HORSESHOE QUEEN has more meaning to me now more than ever. Bless you. Bless your family and all the wonderful friends you have.

October 13, 2012

To the Ferns family and Mrs. Ferns, including Sarah--We send you our sincere and deepest condolences at this time as former neighbors of College Avenue in Marquette, Michigan from the 1960s and 1970s. I was fortunate to meet Mr. Ferns many times here in Lansing, the last time being a few years ago at the eye doctor. As kid growing up on College Avenue I have warm memories too of the Ferns family, including shoveling snow and cutting grass for Esther. You are in our prayers and thoughts. Blessing and peace.

--Dave Forsberg, Lansing, MI
-Barbara Forsberg (Keith) Grand Ledge
-Allison (Forsberg) O'Neill, North Platte, NE

Ute von der Heyden

October 11, 2012

Dear Laura: So sorry to hear about your husband. You spoke of him so often and with such respect and love. I've thought of you often and miss our post water aerobics talks.
Ute von der Heyden

Jim Duranceau

October 8, 2012

Mrs. Ferns and family. Sorry to hear of Dr. Ferns passing. I enjoyed his vists to Marquette and working with him on his business matters.

Al Cipparone

October 7, 2012

Our deepest condolences to you, Laura, and to Steve, Beth, Sarah, Marti and their families. It was a privilege to have known your husband and father.

October 6, 2012

Family of George Ferns, we send you our deepest sympathy. Friends from Crystal Lake,MI. Dr.and Mrs William Seiter

October 5, 2012

Laura and Family, you have our deepest Sympathies. We, too, will miss George. We will be forever thankful that he and Laura encouraged us to become NOMADS. May God Bless and Comfort you all. Jack and Shirley Tingle