Wednesday, July 9, 2014 | Categories:
Perhaps no one could accuse George Ferguson of being a "loving son, brother or father." But he was her father. And as a girl, Karen Shirley adored him. "I thought he was wonderful," she says. But you wouldn't know it after reading the obituary she wrote of her father, which painted a picture of a con man, swindler and "poor man's rhetorician."
If his obituary is anything to judge him by, Mr. Ferguson spent his life exploiting friends and family, deceiving strangers and running from debts.
"There was no way of covering up his transgressions and his character flaws, so they had to be acknowledged," says Ms. Shirley of her obit.
In his younger years, Mr. Ferguson occasionally took a job as a United Church minister -- but only when he had exhausted all other options. Ms. Shirley isn't even sure he was religious.
"He really only mentioned God when his schemes had gone badly, or his reputation was absolutely in the toilet," she says.
But women were the primary target of his cons.
Ms. Shirley says her father charmed women into giving him money -- be it for inventions or business ideas.
"He was so exciting," she says. "It was thrilling to be around him."
Mr. Ferguson eventually moved to Oak Bay, B.C., where he became a restaurant owner, auctioneer, and, in his later years, a regular at local pubs.
But while he may not have lived what most would consider a good life, he did know how to die well, says Ms. Shirley.
Mr. Ferguson toasted his life with his daughter and his friends in his hospital room.
"He died without pain the next evening, from a slow gastric bleed, with his wits about him and a light heart," Ms Shirley wrote in his obituary.
Since his obit was posted online last weekend, Ms. Shirley's candid, but lyrical words for her father have made headlines around the world, and made the rounds on social media.
"I think he would have loved this attention," she says.