PELHAM, N.Y. – James “Barney” Ferguson, retired NYPD homicide detective and dedicated member of dozens of Irish, police and Catholic organizations, died Saturday, May 31, at Calvary Hospice in the Bronx. He was 77 and had been battling cancer and other ailments for years. He lived in Pelham for 40 years before moving to New Rochelle in 2013.
Barney was the fourth of five children born to Mae McGlynn and William Ferguson, both of whom hailed from County Leitrim, Ireland. His father was a Department of Public Works foreman and built many of the city streets that Barney would later patrol and help keep safe. Barney was educated at P.S. 65, St. Luke’s, Samuel Gompers High School, City College and Iona College.
He joined the NYPD in 1957 and was very active in various organizations, serving as president for the Retired Detectives Association, the NYPD Emerald Society, County Leitrim Society and the Grand Council of Emerald Societies. He was also a trustee of the Detectives Endowment Association and was vice president of the Police Anchor Club-Knights of Columbus.
After 22 years of dedicated service, Barney retired from the force in 1979. He received dozens of awards from many police, Irish and civic organizations, including the NYPD Anchor Club’s Man of the Year, the Bronx Conservative Parties Lifetime Achievement Award and the Westchester Police Emerald’s Irishman of the Year.
In one of the greatest honors of his life, Barney was elected to serve as grand marshal for the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1978. In the entire 250-year history of the parade, he remains the only active member of the police force to serve as grand marshal.
Despite four battles with cancer and losing 80 percent of his eyesight, Barney stayed active in many organizations into his last years and months.
Barney is survived by his wife of 53 years, the former Jean Archambault, who went on to be director of housekeeping and maintenance at the College of New Rochelle. They have five married children: Anne, James “Barney” Jr., Karen, Andrew and Erin, and five grandchildren: Joshua, Elena, Monika, Noah and Sebastian.
Wakes will be at Schuyler Hill Funeral Home in the Bronx from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, June 4 and Thursday, June 5. A funeral Mass will be held Friday, June 6 at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Pelham, with burial immediately following at St. Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that anyone seeking to honor Barney consider a donation to the newly established Barney Ferguson Emerald Legacy Fund, P.O. Box 8603, Pelham, N.Y. 10803. It will aid the families of injured/deceased police/fire/military personnel in need.