Gifford "Bugs" Fordham Jr.
1948 - 2020
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Gifford 'Bugs' Fordham Jr.

Born: February 3, 1948; Amboy

Died: August 6, 2020; Mendota

SUBLETTE – Gifford "Bugs" Fordham Jr., 72, of Sublette passed away peacefully on Thursday, Aug. 6, at Heritage Health in Mendota.

Gifford was born on Feb. 3, 1948, in Amboy to Gifford and Grace (Hazelwood) Fordham.

He graduated from Amboy High School in 1966. He was a proud veteran of the U.S. Army and served in the Vietnam War. He married Diane Fetzer on March 7, 1970. Together they had three children. He later married Irene Shaw on Jan. 8, 1999.

Bugs was a skilled welder and worked at Agriculture Building Company for over 26 years until he suffered from a stroke in June of 2000 that left him disabled. He was an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bears. He was an outdoorsman who had a great love of hunting and fishing. He enjoyed his Saturday car rides cruising the country roads and driving by the family farm to look for wildlife. He had a large collection of baseball hats, and it was very seldom that Bugs would be seen without a hat. He looked forward to visits with his family and loved to share stories and special memories.

He is survived by and will be dearly missed by Irene Fordham; two cherished daughters, Tricia (Brian) Hiebing of Mendota and Amy Hicks of Dixon; one beloved son, Jared Fordham of Sublette; stepsons, Yancy Shaw and Eric Shaw, both of Dixon, and Neil Shaw, of Oregon. Also surviving are his precious grandchildren, Lyndsay (Tyler) Hodapp, Andrew (Harleigh) Hiebing, Ian Hiebing, Camryn Kirby and Charlee Fordham; great-grandchildren, Avery Hodapp, Paisley Schmidt, Benjamin and Emery Hiebing and Baby Girl Hiebing arriving soon; stepgrandchildren, Dylan, Colton, Ethan, Evan, Gabe, Christian, Cory, Carter, Cody, Irelyn and Patrick Shaw; and step-great-grandchildren, Arira and Dominick Shaw; his brother, Larry Fordham of Amboy; his sisters, Linda Hess of Earlville and Diane Fordham of Spring Valley; stepbrothers, Ron (Marlene) Egler of Sublette and Ed Egler of Florida; and stepsisters, Linda Ikens of Amboy and Deb Egler of Dixon. 

He was preceded in death by his parents; his stepmothers, Laverne Fordham and Ellen Fordham; and his sister, Debra Hartenbower.

Face masks and social distancing requirements will be enforced for a public visitation from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday Aug. 14, at Merritt Funeral Home, Mendota. Cremation rites will be accorded after the visitation and a private family burial with military honors by the Mendota VFW Post 4079 will be held at St. Mary's Cemetery, Sublette, at a later date.

Memorials may be directed to the family.

The Fordham family expresses heartfelt gratitude to Heritage Health and also the former Lutheran Home staff for all of the wonderful care and love given to Bugs and his family while he resided there. Bugs was a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather who was very loved and will be deeply missed by many.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Sauk Valley News on Aug. 11, 2020.
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14 entries
August 17, 2020
RIP to an American patriot. Amboy Clipper class of 1966
August 14, 2020
Mike and Kim Smith
August 13, 2020
I am honored and blessed to have known Bugs. He was truly a blessing in my life and I will miss him very much! So many great memories made during our time at MLH together! My family and I send our deepest sympathies to your family in this difficult time ❤
Jennifer Hancock-Krager and Family
August 12, 2020
I Pray Peace and Comfort for the whole family! I’ve had the honor of being a caregiver to Bugs for many years and that comes with a lot of great memories that I will cherish! One of my favorite ones is when I got to tell him the Cub’s won the World Series! That was Awesome! Thank you Bugs for making work fun and sometimes interesting! ❤
Seth and Heidi King
August 11, 2020
Bugs touched the hearts of every one he came in contact with. He’ll never be forgotten! I hope his memories will continue to warm your hearts. You have my deepest sympathy.
Connie Buchanan
August 11, 2020
So sorry for your loss, you will be in our prayers
Doug and Sue Aughenbaugh
August 11, 2020
I am so sorry for your families loss. Sending hugs, prayers and positive thoughts
Maurece (Recee) White/Bruder
August 10, 2020
Our heartfelt condolences to Trisha and Linda Hess and Bugs family. I recall the fun times and laughter when I cared for him as a nurse at the Luthern home. Our deepest sympathy
Jenny and Jason Donahue
Jenny Donahue
August 10, 2020
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow. Bugs was a very special person. Always made me smile.
Anita Matuszewski
August 10, 2020
I knew this great man gor 10 years. From when I first became a cna and met him at mlh and got the pleasure of seeing him again at heritage. He was always a joy to visit and talk about SURVIVOR! He will be dearly missed!! Thank you for being you bugs!
Chloe Nelson
August 10, 2020
Thinking of you during this difficult time. He sure will be missed, but never forgotten bc of his big personality❤
Brianna Halberg
August 10, 2020
My sympathy and prayers for the Fordham family.
Graduated class of 1966 with Bugsy.
He was a good spirited guy!
Regina Gascoigne Leffelman
Regina Leffelman
August 10, 2020
My deepest heartfelt sympathy to the entire family. “Bugs” Oh what an awesome guy! Truly one in a million! It was my pleasure to have known him, worked with him and to have cared for him. He will be sadly and deeply missed by so many many!! But never forgotten. He may have been a man of few words but two words remain forever in my heart and to those he loved most. “Love you”
Jean Eich
August 10, 2020
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow. My Dad worked with him at ABC and always spoke highly of Bugs.
Nancy (Geuther) and Chris Butler
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