Hundreds gathered to remember former Abbotsford mayor George Ferguson on Saturday.

Hundreds gathered to remember former Abbotsford mayor George Ferguson on Saturday.

VIDEO: George Ferguson honoured by family and friends

Thousands gather for former Abbotsford mayor's funeral on Saturday

For one final time, former Abbotsford mayor George Ferguson packed them in.

Hundreds gathered at Tradex in Abbotsford to remember the longest-serving mayor in the history of Abbotsford on Saturday.

Ferguson, who died on March 7, served as mayor of Abbotsford from 1972 to 2002, and then again from 2005 to 2008.

Following a greeting and processional, several local politicians spoke about Ferguson’s impact on Abbotsford and on their own individual careers as elected officials.

Current Abbotsford mayor Henry Braun shared the 40-year relationship the two friends had.

“The city mourns and grieves with you,” he said to members of the Ferguson family. “But we should celebrate a life well-lived and lived to the fullest.”

Braun said he visited Ferguson the day before he died, and that he will miss their discussions and Ferguson’s advice.

MP Ed Fast said that Ferguson’s death leaves a big hole in Abbotsford. Fast, who served three terms as an Abbotsford city councillor starting in 1996, called Ferguson a “dear friend”.

He told the story about the naming of George Ferguson Way back in the early-2000s, and also receiving a phone call from Ferguson shortly before the deadline for nominees for the 2005 municipal election.

Fast said Ferguson wanted to go out on his own terms after losing the mayoral race in the 2002 election.

Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas joked about his mother having a crush on Ferguson back when they attended elementary school together. Plecas admitted he would often rib Ferguson about how he “dumped” his mother so long ago.

Plecas lauded Ferguson’s “incredible history of public service”, and also read a note from Premier Christy Clark that spoke highly of the former mayor.

Coun. Patricia Ross referred to Ferguson as a “remarkable man”, and spoke of how valuable his mentorship was to her.

“He always listened more than he talked,” she said. “We all should follow his example, and pass on his legacy for future generations.”

Family greetings and recollections were shared by George Ferguson Jr. and Karen Kinsey. Several hymns and liturgy then occurred.

A reception with lunch at Tradex followed, with a graveside service scheduled for later that afternoon.

For a photo gallery from the event, click here.