Download Full Text (47 KB)


John was born January 26, 1919, in Harrison, New Jersey. John died April 18, 1998, in Spokane, Washington. By December 31, 1940, John moved west and enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps. He was stationed at Camp F-66 along the Payette River on the present-day Boise National Forest. By December 1941, John was living in McCall, Idaho and working for the Forest Service. When the smokejumper program was established in Region Four in 1943, John along with Stewart "Lloyd" Johnson and three Civilian Public Service (CPS) enrollees were trained as smokejumpers at Seeley Lake, Montana. After their training, they were stationed at McCall, Idaho. John and Lloyd were trained to be riggers and spotters and Lloyd was appointed foreman of the program. John and CPS enrollee, Lester Gahler, were the first two smokejumpers to jump a fire in R-4, jumping 30-foot Eagle parachutes on the Captain John Creek Fire on August 14,1943. John returned to smokejumping in 1944 but entered the U.S. Army that summer and served as a crewmember on a B-29 aircraft until his discharge on November 28, 1945. He returned to smokejumping from 1946 through 1948 with two fire jumps each of those years. After smokejumping, John continued with a career in the Forest Service in R-4 until the late 1970s. His primary occupation was in engineering and as a cadastral surveyor on the Targhee NF in Anthony, Idaho and in the Regional Office in Ogden, Utah.



Publication Date

January 2002


Smokejumping; Smokejumpers -- United States; National Smokejumper Association; Wildfire fighters; Obituaries


Forest Management

Smokejumper Obituary: Ferguson, John Pershing (McCall 1943)