Mrs Elizabeth Sheldon (1920 – 1997)

Mrs Elizabeth (Betty) Sheldon, daughter of Harry Ferguson, died on 1st May with dignity after a short illness.

Born Elizabeth Ferguson in Belfast in 1920, where she attended school until the age of 14 when her father decided that any further education would be best obtained in the big wide world. Consequently she spent much of her time travelling the world accompanying her father on his many trips particually to America.

It was in America that one of the many amusing stories of her life happened. One particular day Harry Ferguson was entertaining Henry Ford and Elizabeth was sent to make a pot of tea. Unfortunately she could not work out how the new fangled electric kettle worked and knowing that her father was intolerant of failure was beginning to panic. After some time Elizabeth relented and returned to the meeting room to summon help, both Harry and Henry Ford, two of the greatest engineers that the world has known could not get the kettle to boil also. “Well” said Harry “lets forget about having tea Mr Ford has to return to his office, we will detain him no longer”.

After the war Elizabeth spent some time in France where she attended the Sorbonne and helped set up Harry Ferguson France. Elizabeth spoke french fluently and played tennis with distinction and rode when time allowed with the Cotswold Hunt.

Elizabeth married Tony Sheldon in 1950 they lived near to Abbotswood in Stow on Wold as Tony worked for Ferguson Research after its formation. They moved to the Isle of Wight in 1970 where she enjoyed, with Tony, many hours sailing, supporting him when he was Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes. She continued to represent the memory of her father and his engineering achievements through Harry Ferguson Holdings and Ferguson Research. She was of course Patron of the Ferguson Club.

Mrs. Sheldon was respected by everyone who met her and made one feel ‘at home’, she had a great sense of humour. She is survived by Tony, has a son Jamie, two daughters Caroline and Sally and five grandchildren.

Duncan Russell