Robert (Bob) Ferguson passed away at OSF St Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois, at the age of 77. Born November 6, 1946, in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, he’s remembered by those who knew him for his passion for photography and his contribution to shaping adult magazines at the height of their popularity. He is survived by his wife, Gloria VanOrder, whom he married in East Peoria in 2009, three children, and seven grandchildren.

Ferguson’s photography career began in the mid-’70s and took him all over the world, shooting for magazines like Cheri and High Society. This included frequent trips to the ED EXPO, which he attended every year for over two decades. While he was often hard at work behind the camera, he was never one to go unnoticed. His talents were repeatedly recognized at the EXPO Awards Show, where he received eight nominations between 1998 and 2005 for Photographer of the Year.

“Bob was a mainstay at EXPO,” says ED’s Publisher, Dave Manack. “You’d always catch him in the front row of every event. His name was absolutely synonymous with industry photography.”

Gracie and Bob

In addition to photography, Ferguson had several other notable talents. After serving in the military as a United States Marine, he began working at Caterpillar Inc. as a tool and die maker. He stayed with the company for 30 years until his retirement in the early ‘90s. During this time, he also trained as a falconer, eventually earning himself the title of Master Falconer.

Ferguson was laid to rest at Fondulac Cemetery in East Peoria on April 5, 2024. Preceded in death were his parents, William and Verina Ferguson, his daughter Julie, and brother Charles Ferguson.

Bob Ferguson was an icon in our industry. Through his lenses he showed us art in his beautiful pictures. A smile that always warmed our heart and hug that always made us feel safe. A friend that never judged and always extended a hand to help all that touched his life. He will be truly missed.
– Gracie Cardoso

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