R. Robert Funderburg Forest Preserve unveiled


Ferguson, Ray and Charlotte – 2014

Ferguson, Ray and Charlotte

“Ray and Charlotte Ferguson and Rock River Valley Chapter of the Wild Ones, who exemplified Atwood’s passion for land preservation, were recipients of the Seth B. Atwood Memorial Park and Conservation Service Award.”

“The award, presented annually as Earth Day, is given annually and jointly by the Rockford Park District and the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District.  The placques are given to an individual or organization for exceptional contributions in providing facilities, programs, or services in parks, recreation and conservation.”

“The Fergusons, married 38 years, have made many contributions to Winnebago County, such as the reconstruction of Historic Macktown, , Winnebago County first settlement; a donation of one-half the value of 60 acres making possible the Rockton sports fields; buying the 80.5 acre Grove Creek Forest Preserve on behalf of the Forest Preserve District until a grant to secure the property could be secured; and a significant monetary gift to the Winnebago Country Forest Preserve District, which made possible the purchase of the 525-acre property of former Rep. Dave Winters.”

Source: Rockford Register Star April 25, 2014

Severson, Fannie B.

Severson, Fannie B. - civic

daughter of Jacob and Eliza Rupp, born in Fulton County, Ohio. Graduate of Goshen College, Goshen, IN., in 1912

married Samuel E. Zook, a teacher at Rockford Central High School

served as Executive Director of Red Cross at Camp Grant

In 1920 they moved to Akron, Ohio, where Zook died in 1929

“She resumed her teaching in Akron until 1933, when she married Harry Severson; he was president of Barber-Colman and an avid naturalist and philanthropist.”

“She and her husband were much interested in Rockford College.”  They donated Jewitt Science Hall on the old campus. Later when the campus moved to East State St., they donated Severson Auditorium in memory of their son, Robert D. Severson, who was killed in Germany in World War II.”

“She authored a book on the experiences of her sons, Robert and John, in the European Theater during the war. Robert was with the 78th Infantry Division and John was a bomber pilot with the 8th Air Force.”

“She donated a pipe organ to Goshen College in 1970, dedicated to her father. Jacob Rupp.  She wrote a second book dealing with her Mennonite heritage.”

“In 1974, through her church, she made a gift to the Heifer Project International, sending agricultural and technical aid to post-war Europe.”

“Her most recent gift was in March, 1975, when she donated her 370-acre property, “Deer Lodge,” on Montague Road to the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District. It has been named Harry A. and Fannie B. Severson Dells Forest Preserve. It is to be dedicated this year.”

Source: Rockford Morning Star January 20, 1976


Severson, Harry A. and Fannie B.

Severson - 1

“Park District honors Severson family; Descendants receive Seth  B. Atwood conservation award”

“The Severson family was named winner of the Seth B. Atwood Memorial Park and Conservation Award on Friday.”

“The Seth B. Atwood  award was established by the park district and the Forest Preserve District in 1982 in memory of the man who headed the park district from 1928 to 1960, and who donated more than 1,000 acres of recreational and conservation land to the public.  The acres include Atwood Park, Atwood Homestead and Trask Bridge Forest Preserve.”

Source: Rockford Register Star April 27, 1985