John Fersen

John Fersen (1910 – 1988)

An only son (like his father), John had a naturally practical ability with his hands from an early age, and preferred helping in his father's joinery business in Detroit to attending lessons in school. Once he reached the age of 21 he took over the business as manager, and soon developed it into a General Store. His father continued as a joiner throughout his seventies, occasionally helping out in the shop before his death in 1944.

John had a natural charm, his mother’s good looks, and an eye for the ladies. After several affairs he swept twenty year old Teresa-Louise Miller off her feet, and married her two years later in 1948. Teresa-Louise was from a well-off ranching family in Kentucky, and she inherited land of her own in the same year that their only son (Michael) was born.


This coincided with the death of his mother, so John appointed a manager for the store, allowing him time to indulge in farm life, as well as gaining experience in raising horses in Kentucky.

While John was away on the farm, his son stayed with Teresa-Louise in Detroit, taking more interest in the running of the store, before pursuing higher education at Colgate University in upstate New York.

John enjoyed more carefree pursuits than Michael, and the division between the interests of father and son was to play a major part in later life. The General Store was sold off in 1970, and for a while John and Teresa-Louise made their home at the ranch near Louisville in Kentucky. Michael was to remain distant from his father, who eventually died of a heart attack in 1988 at the age of 78.

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