Company D, 511th PIR
Aug 3, 1923 - Aug 4, 2000 (Age 77)
Citations: World War II Victory Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal, the American Defense Medal, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
Joe C. Ferguson was born August 3, 1923 in Memphis, Tennessee to Thomas D. and Ruth C. Ferguson. He died August 4, 2000 in Dallas, Texas, and was buried there.
Joe graduated from Highland Park High School, attended Texas A & M University and graduated from SMU.
Joe served his country valiantly in World War II as an officer in the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the South Pacific. He went on to Japan for the Occupation with General Swing’s troops, under General MacArthur. Joe developed lifelong friendships with his Army companions, which were enthusiastically maintained at annual company reunions. His love of his comrades extended until his death, as attested to the fact that “The surviving members of Company D 511 PIR were to be his honorary pallbearers”.
After the war, most of Joe’s business career was spent in the cotton business and later as an investment advisor. He was a member of the Dallas Cotton Exchange and served as its president. He was a member of the Highland Park United Methodist Church and the Dallas Country Club.
Joe was a kind and loving husband and father. He is survived by Sara, his loving wife of 52 years, and daughters Floyde Ferguson of Dallas and Sally Ferguson Rice and husband of Houston; son. Thomas D. Ferguson, II and wife Jeannifer, of Dallas, and several grandchildren.
Joe was an unforgettably loyal and caring friend, a staunchly patriotic American and avid sports fan. His great wealth was his family, his remarkable number of friends and his penchant for telling war stories about the courage of others. His gentle spirit will be missed by all who knew him. He was truly a member of America’s Greatest Generation.
A tribute to Joe from Cpt. Hoadly Ryan:
“Joe was a good friend and good soldier whom I met and hooked up with in Lipa in 1945 and then we went on to Okinawa, Japan, Morioka, and D Company outpost in Miyakio.
“After we left Japan in the Spring of 1946 I never heard from him again until I received a telephone call in 1980 or 1981 when he surprised me with his Texas drawl calling me “Yankee, Damm Irishman, Redneck “and numerous other expletives. I surprised him when I recognized his voice immediately, saying “Is this the culprit from Midlothian, Texas?” to which he replied with more choice words. He told me of the 11th Airborne Reunion in Minneapolis, and asked if we could meet there.
“So, began a new relationship with a new twist – as civilians, we were both married and with families. However, our relationship continued the same – he with his jokes and remarks about the Irish, Yankees, and so on.
“Joe and I have gotten together every year since: Either at Division of Regimental reunions, and in 1988 he was instrumental in helping form our D Company in Dayton, “Ohio. We have kept our friendship going ever since. He finally missed the 511 P.I.R. reunion in Nashville this year (2000), but was with us in spirit. I still consider him my best and most loyal friend even after a lapse of some 34 years.”
A tribute from Andy and Jane Carrico:
"Andy (Lt. Carrico) did not know Joe during the war – He came into D Company after Andy was wounded and returned home. But Jane and I came to know Joe as he began attending the reunions. What a sense of warmth, humor, and bantering back and forth about The Dallas Cowboys and The Washington Redskins we developed. His war stories were always delivered with a zip, and his hospitality was outstanding. We visited Joe and Sara in Dallas, and were royally entertained. Such a great couple! As his health failed, we all sensed that we would be losing a great friend!"
Story compiled by Jane Carrico from various sources. Republished in WINDS ALOFT May 2011
If you would like to learn more about Joe's exploits within and the history of the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment in World War II, please consider purchasing a copy of the book WHEN ANGEL'S FALL: FROM TOCCOA TO TOKYO, THE 511TH PARACHUTE INFANTRY REGIMENT IN WORLD WAR II, available in the regimental online store, on Amazon or wherever military history books are sold.