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Wings of a Dove' author dead at 73

By By Penny Randall/The Meridian Star
July 24, 2001
Robert "Bob" Ferguson, best known as author of the award-winning song "Wings of a Dove," died Sunday at the University of Mississippi Medial Center in Jackson.
After retiring from RCA Music Corp., Ferguson served as historian and audio-visual producer for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Philadelphia. He also helped develop the Museum of the Southern Indian in 1981.
Chief Phillip Martin said he considered Ferguson "a good friend and family member of the tribe for many, many years."
In 1987, Ferguson established WHTV as a local cable service for Pearl River-Philadelphia. He retired from that position in 1998 and was awarded the title of Tribal Historian Emeritus.
Ferguson's career took off after graduation from Washington State College. He moved to Nashville and worked as manager for country music singer Ferlin Huskey.
In 1958, Ferguson wrote his first multi-million seller song, "Wings of A Dove" which Huskey recorded first, followed by other singers. In 1987, "Wings of a Dove" received BMI's "One-million Airplays" Award.
Ferguson served as the motion picture producer for the Tennessee Game and Fish Commission. In 1960, the North American Wildlife Conservation Association named his production, "The World Outdoors," as "Best Motion Picture of the Year."
He returned to Nashville as a senior producer with RCA, serving as assistant to Chet Atkins until his retirement. While there, he produced records for Atkins, Porter Waggoner, Dolly Parton, Floyd Cramer and Charlie Pride.
Ferguson also played a major roll in developing the Country Music Association.
Ferguson wrote other songs, including "Carroll County Accident" which Waggoner first recorded and which won a Country Music Award for the "Song of the Year" in 1969.
Ferguson also co-wrote two books with Jesse Burt, "So You Want to be in Music" and "Southeastern Indians Then and Now."
Martin said Ferguson "was a brilliant and wise man. His familiar voice is now still, yet it echoes in our minds and will always help us to recall fond memories of the man whom we were privileged to know."
Ferguson is survived by his wife, Martha Jean Ferguson; four children, Robert Bruce "Rob" Ferguson Jr., John Marshall Ferguson, Mary Lorena Ferguson Lewis and Missouri Ann Ferguson Brown; and six grandchildren.
Services are set for 10 a.m. Wednesday at Pearl River Baptist Church. Milling Funeral Home of Union is in charge of arrangements.
Penny Randall is an editorial assistant at The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3216, or e-mail her at prandall@themeridianstar.com.

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