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Lester Ferley

Male 1911 - 2015  (103 years)


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  • Name Lester Ferley 
    Nickname "Les" 
    Born 31 Jul 1911  Northwood, Worth, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Died 6 Feb 2015  Pierre, Hughes, South Dakota, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    • Lester Ferley age 103 of Pierre, died on Friday, February 6 at Avera Maryhouse in Pierre.

      Lester Ferley was born July 31, 1911 on a farm near Northwood, IA, to John and Elizabeth (Hove) Ferley.

      In 1916 the family moved their livestock, machinery and household goods by rail to Balfour, ND, where Les attended country schools.
      Losing the farm during the 1917 – 1924 North Dakota depression, the family rented farms in 4 different areas most of the time near Starkweather where Les spent his high school years.

      Farming never appealed to Les , he had his heart set to be a watchmaker. With no money in farming during the depression years, he wondered about other means to get to college. Being an accomplished banjo player, he started a 5 piece dance band that stayed together for over 6 years.
      Les also worked and Nerhuagen’s Music Store in Devils Lake, ND, tuning pianos, repairing musical instruments and sewing machines along with farming.

      In 1938 Lester had accumulated enough savings to enroll in the Elgin Watchmakers College in Elgin, Illinois. Two years later he graduated as a Master Watchmaker. He went back to Devils Lake to work with Bjornson’s Jewelry Store.

      Lester was married to Ann Axtman in Devils Lake in June of 1938 and 3 sons were born to them; George, John and Jim, they left North Dakota before the depression was over and moved to Pierre for a job with Marshall’s Jewelry Store.

      Mr. Marshall died 3 years later and Les became business partners with Mr. Dukelo. After 3 years of being partners Les bought out Mr. Dukelo and started Ferley Jewelers and Gifts.

      Duty called during World War II and Lester enlisted into the South Dakota State Guard on March 16, 1942. Les was honorably discharged as a Sergeant on December 27, 1946.

      Les was an entrepreneur and often said that his best business investment was when he hired Bob Kaiser as a watchmaker in 1954.
      Bob was so valuable to the business that he became a partner in 1968. Bob’s son Rick became a partner in 1979 and the manager in 2003. Having this kind of help allowed Lester to spend time in the Black Hills mining.

      Lester was a volunteer fireman in Pierre for 20 years and another 4 in Devils Lake. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Kiwanis Club, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce all the years he was in business.
      He was the Chamber President in 1952 and was a faithful member of the Pierre Senior Citizens and Yacht Club.
      He was a 72 year Life Member of the NRA and was very active in the Pierre’s Lewis and Clark Rifle and Pistol Club. Les was very proud of the 29 years he served on the Board of Directors at Bank West.

      Visitation will be on Wednesday, February 11 at the Maryhouse Chapel from 6-7pm followed by a prayer service at 7pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, February 12 at 10:30am at the Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Burial will be at the Riverside Cemetery in Pierre with Deacon Ken Pitlick and Fr. Michael Griffin officiating.

      Les was an avid reader and spent many hours in the library.
      Every Wednesday he would meet with the Good Old Boys for some fond reminiscing about the days when they were young.
      Les had a passion for hunting and fishing every fall you could find him in a corn field stalking a pheasant or in a pit waiting for an unsuspecting goose.

      Les is survived by his daughter-in-law Kathy , son, 6 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
      He was preceded in death by his wife Ann and sons George and John. [1]
    Buried 12 Feb 2015  Pierre, Hughes, South Dakota, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    • Riverside Cemetery. [1]
    Person ID I15079  My Genealogy
    Last Modified 17 Jun 2016 

    Father John T. Ferley,   b. 27 Nov 1884,   d. Aug 1981, Northwood, Worth, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 96 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Mother Elizabeth Hove, "Ferley",   b. 28 Apr 1888, Worth, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Apr 1977, Northwood, Worth, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 88 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Married Bef 1921 
    • 5 barn.
    Family ID F5180  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Ann Axtman, "Ferley",   b. 1917,   d. 12 Jan 1983  (Age 66 years) 
    Married Jun 1938  Devils Lake, Ramsey, North Dakota, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Children 
     1. John L. Ferley,   b. 24 Feb 1944,   d. 28 Apr 1992  (Age 48 years)  [Birth]
     2. George Ferley,   d. Bef 2015  [Birth]
     3. Jim Ferley  [Birth]
    Last Modified 17 Jun 2016 
    Family ID F5865  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S128] http://www.findagrave.com/ (Reliability: 2).


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