Leader in peach industry, Dale Ferguson, dies at 86
A funeral will be Saturday for a Kansas dry farmer who turned into a Grand Valley peach industry leader.
Dale Ferguson died Sunday. He was 86.
Ferguson began farming at age 9 in Kansas, when his father died, said a daughter, Vicki Sea.
When Ferguson visited the Grand Valley in 1946 to help relatives on a farm, “he caught the peach bug,” Sea said.
Ferguson married a year later in Kansas and he and his wife, Betty, moved to the Palisade area, where Ferguson worked as a licensed cream tester and on a peach orchard that he purchased in 1963.
Ferguson was active in the peach industry, serving as president of the board of control of the peach market order and on the board of the Western Colorado Farm Growers to provide affordable farm labor.
He also served as president of the National Peach Council and received the National Peach Council lifetime achievement award in 1987.
In 1998 Ferguson was inducted into the Colorado State Agricultural Hall of Fame.
He also was several times recognized as peach and fruit grower of the year by local organizations.
In addition to enjoying peach farming, Ferguson enjoyed fishing and hunting in western Colorado, Sea said.
Betty Ferguson, who he met when he was a third-grader and she a first-grader in a one-room schoolhouse in Kansas, died June 28.
Survivors include Sea and another daughter, Glenda Brinkman of Minnesota, and two sons, Doug of Denver and Scott of Collbran; and 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Palisade Methodist Church. A visitation will be today from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Palisade Funeral Home.