Hamilton father dies on way to pick up children from school

Karen Ferguson, pictured with husband Andrew Ferguson, was overwhelmed by the love and support of the community following Andrew’s death.photo/provided

The tragedy happened as devout father-of-three Andrew Ferguson was driving to pick up his children from school.

Ferguson, of Hamilton, suffered a medical error Monday afternoon while picking up children Isabel and Aiden and teenage son Lachlan from a local high school.

He was attacked on his way to a car park in Chartwell; causing him to lose control of the car. Despite his ill health, Ferguson managed to steer the vehicle safely from oncoming traffic and into the middle ground.

Local residents and staff rallied in support until police and medical services arrived.

But Ferguson could not recover.

Widow struggles to understand ‘broken world’

Friends and family have built a Givealittle Fundraising Page To help the family that Ferguson left behind – wife Karen and their children.

“Karen now finds herself a single mother of three, and it’s hard for her to understand how this can be done in terms of work and family happiness.”

Andrew Ferguson, 52, died of a heart attack while driving to pick up his children from school.photo/provided   Hamilton father dies on way to pick up children from school
Andrew Ferguson, 52, died of a heart attack while driving to pick up his children from school.photo/provided

Karen Ferguson is from Germany and has no immediate family in New Zealand to support her.

“[She] struggling to understand her broken world. Andrew does not have life insurance. “

The money will be used to help the family in the short term and will be used to pay rent and utility bills and give Karen Ferguson time to deal with the loss of her husband.

Best friend Brian Leslie describes Ferguson as a devoted husband and father, talented musician, chef and tattoo and beard lover.

He is a big part of the New Zealand Beard community and won the National Championship a few years ago.

“Unfortunately, he had throat cancer a few years ago and the radiation killed his beard,” Leslie said.

“He beat cancer, but his beard couldn’t grow back, so that’s why he has that big beard.”

Without his trademark beard, Ferguson served as a referee for future games.

Leslie said his friend was an “absolutely generous” and supportive husband and father.

“He loves watching his daughter play hockey, his sons love music, his older son plays guitar and his younger son is just starting to learn drums.

“Andrew could pick up his guitar and play anything, and he was just starting to play the trumpet.”

Andrew Ferguson is an important part of the New Zealand beard community, but treatment for throat cancer has meant he has only been able to grow a handlebar beard of late.photo/provided  Hamilton father dies on way to pick up children from school
Andrew Ferguson is an important part of the New Zealand beard community, but treatment for throat cancer has meant he has only been able to grow a handlebar beard of late.photo/provided

Leslie said Karen Ferguson was moved by the support she and her children received.

“She came here from Germany, so she doesn’t have any immediate family, but the community here has been very supportive – she’s amazed at the love.

“Andrew and Karen both work on the same floor at Immigration New Zealand – so her colleagues have all been to her home and she will have great support from them.”

Hukanui School principal Leo Spaans said the school community had also stepped in to provide meals and emotional care for the family.

“Andrew is a very attractive person, a big influence in the school, he supports his children in sports, art and music.

“As a big school, we have a lot of wonderful people around us who will band together to provide meals and any help needed for their families.”

Spaans works with Fraser Hill, principal of Rototuna Junior High, where 14-year-old Lachlan is a student.

“These are tough times for the family and we’re all here for them. They’re a beautiful family and he’s an important person, so the emptiness is bigger because of that.

“There is a small group of staff here who are reaching out to mum to provide the support she needs.”

To date, more than $18,000 has been donated to the family through the Givealittle page.

Tributes online described Ferguson as a fun friend and devoted family man.

“Andrew – he was a charismatic, good-humored good man, a formidably playful dad, a loving husband and a great reputation in the local community.

“His mustache and big smile are easy to recognize.”

The children’s school also paid tribute to one of their “greatly admired” fathers.

The Hukanui Elementary School said on its Facebook page that a small private ceremony will be held this week to celebrate Ferguson’s life.

“Our thoughts, prayers and love go out to the Ferguson family. Alohanui.”

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