IRVINGTON—Paul P. Ferguson, 80, of Irvington passed away peacefully on June 12 at home.
Paul was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1940, the son of Orchestra Leader Paul Plumley Pendarvis and Mary Elizabeth McGoldrick. He lived his early years in Burbank, Calif.
Paul’s mother divorced Pendarvis and married Charles Ferguson in 1947, and in 1948, the family moved to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where they remained until 1955.
That year, they moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they settled down and grew roots deep into the community. Paul’s stepfather, Charles Ferguson, opened Travel Services, Inc., a Destination Management Company providing services to the corporate meeting and incentive travel market. The company was rebranded several years ago as Destination Puerto Rico.
Upon graduation from high school in Puerto Rico, Paul attended the University of Miami, graduating with a bachelor’s in geography in 1962. Shortly thereafter, he joined an incentive travel firm in Chicago as a trip director, accompanying incentive travel award groups to resort destinations throughout the hemisphere.
Paul returned to the family business at the end of 1962 and remained, as office manager, until he was drafted in late 1965. One day ahead of his scheduled reporting to the U.S. Army, Paul was inducted into the U.S. Navy and after boot camp, he served as a quartermaster aboard the USS Eaton (DD510), a World War II Fletcher Class destroyer.
His performance was noted and, within only seven months, he was recommended for OCS in Newport, R.I., and was commissioned an ensign in April of 1967. He served next as operations officer aboard a Coastal Minesweeper, first doing Windward Passage patrol out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, then being transferred to the USS Benewah (APB35), the flagship of the Mobile Riverine Force in the Mekong Delta, South Vietnam. Here too, he was the ship’s operations officer as well as the staff communications officer. Upon finishing his tour of duty aboard the Benewah in November of 1969, he was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat “V” by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, COMNAVFORV.
Paul returned immediately to Puerto Rico and resumed the day-to-day management of the family firm. Two years later, Charles Ferguson retired and Paul assumed the presidency. He served for decades on the board of directors of the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau as well as the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association and was recognized as the master of by-laws at both organizations. In addition, he served as president of the Puerto Rico Skal Club in 1975 and the chairman of American Sightseeing International (a worldwide association of sightseeing and tour operators from around the world) in 1984. With a keen knowledge of the tourism sector, borne of his years of experience, he was mentor to many who sought his advice and who he generously helped along in the paths of their careers.
Paul turned over the reins of the firm to his daughter, Joanne, in 2008, but remained active in the firm until he fully retired in 2012. Since then, Paul had been living full time in Irvington, a beautiful coastal village on the Chesapeake Bay. He loved photography and sailing, built model airplanes and boats, and piloted countless hours “flying” on his Flight Simulator. He traveled extensively throughout the world and cherished the time he spent with his family.
Paul leaves behind a daughter, Joanne Ferguson-Twiste; two sons, James Pendarvis Ferguson and Patrick Charles Ferguson; one grandson, Christian Kai Ferguson; and a sister, Margaret Ann Ferguson Venegas.
In remembrance of Paul’s life, the family asks that any charitable donations be made to either of the two following charities: The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – www.lls.org, or Sarcoma Foundation of America – www.curesarcoma.org.