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Jon Knutson, Published October 08 2009

Downtown Fargo YMCA renamed for benefactors

Dr. Cal Fercho has fond memories of the YMCA from when he was young.

“The YMCA was good to me and my friends,” said the retired Fargo eye surgeon.

Now, Fercho and his wife, Doris, have been good to YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties.

The couple made a “very significant contribution” to the YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties Endowment Fund, said Paul Finstad, the YMCA’s chief executive officer.

The contribution – the size of which isn’t being released – will help pay for YMCA programs for young people who otherwise couldn’t afford them.

In return, the organization has renamed its downtown Fargo branch at 400 1st Ave. S. the Fercho Family YMCA.

Signs at the building will be updated as soon as possible, ideally this fall, Finstad said.

Cal Fercho said he began coming to the YMCA when he was in eighth grade to play basketball, billiards and occasionally to swim.

Later, he played basketball at the YMCA during high school and as an adult.

The ties continued in his career.

Fercho worked at his ophthalmologist practice from 1956 until he retired in 1992.

For 22 of those years, his practice was just across the street from the downtown YMCA branch.

In 1989, Fercho donated space downtown that became the Y on Broadway.

“That was very important to us,” Finstad said.

“This contribution is very important to us, too,” he said.

The nonprofit YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties, founded in 1886, serves more than 40,000 people annually. Nearly half of those are youths.

The organization says no one is turned away because of the inability to pay to participate.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530