George Chadwick (Chad) Ferguson
COLUMBUS – Veteran community journalist and sports writer Chad Ferguson, Texas Press Association’s 134th president, died Feb. 4 after a six-month battle with cancer. He was 65.
Ferguson was publisher of the Banner Press Newspaper in Columbus, covering Austin, Colorado and Fayette counties.
The funeral service on Sunday, Feb. 10, drew community members, coaches and athletes and friends from his high school days, as well a large crowd of newspaper publishers from across the state.
Ferguson began his newspaper career in his youth as a carrier, then went on to lead regional newspaper associations as well as the statewide press association. He was active at every level in each organization.
In addition to TPA, he was a past president of the Texas Gulf Coast Press Association (2011-12) and the South Texas Press Association (2000-01). He continued to serve as assistant to the presidents of TGCPA and STPA until his death.
His wife, Ramona “Bebo” Ferguson, is first vice president of TPA. When she assumes the role of president in January 2020, the Fergusons will be the first husband and wife to serve as presidents of TPA.
Ferguson’s newspaper career began when he took on a delivery route for the Brazosport Facts at the age of 10. Two years later, he shared a sports column with his father, who was sports editor of the newspaper. He went on to cover Little League sports for the Altus (Oklahoma) Times-Democrat between his freshman and sophomore years in high school. After his 1972 graduation from J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson, he returned to Altus to attend Altus Junior College on an athletic scholarship. He also covered the AJC baseball team for the Times-Democrat.
He left AJC to become sports editor at the Richardson Daily News, where he spent six years. From there he went to the Seminole Sentinel, where he worked under Marshall Day, who became a lifetime friend and mentor Ferguson credited with teaching him the many facets of the newspaper industry, especially advertising. After three years under Day’s leadership, Ferguson moved to Alvin to become managing editor of the Alvin Sun and Alvin Advertiser, which were owned by Hartman Newspapers. Three years later, he left the industry temporarily to work for a company in College Station that helped produce athletic programs for Texas A&M University and published a statewide 4-H magazine. He soon returned to newspaper industry as advertising sales representative of the Lufkin Advertiser, co-owned by Alvin Holley, who had formed Polk County Publishing, a collection of several East Texas newspapers.
Ferguson’s career came full circle in 1985 when he again joined his father and cousin Phillip Ferguson in starting a newspaper in Columbus, The Banner Press Newspaper. In 1988, Chad and Bebo Ferguson became part owners. Their newspaper has won numerous awards in annual TPA contests and in regional contests of the South Texas Press Association and the Texas Gulf Coast Press Association.
In 2013, the Fergusons were honored by STPA with the Chester Evans Award, which recognizes long and dedicated service to the association. Ferguson was inducted into the TGCPA Hall of Honor in 2017 in recognition of his dedicated service to that organization.
Ferguson holds the distinction of having been honored twice as the Sports Writer of the Year by the Texas Girls Coaches Association – in 1992 and again in 2009. He also was twice honored by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches as the recipient of its Golden Hoops Award for sports coverage, in 1989-90 and in 2008.
Ferguson was a longtime member of the Texas Sports Writers Association. He actively promoted athletes from his newspaper’s tri-county coverage area. He also was a former member of the Lions Club.
He is remembered by colleagues and fellow press association members as a caring mentor and industry leader proud of the profound impact newspapers can have in informing and enriching the communities they serve.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two children, four grandchildren and other relatives.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or a charity of choice.