Friday, May 24, 2013

Muriel R. (Williams) Ferguson

Muriel Ruth Ferguson, innovator, mentor, and advocate, passed away on Friday, May 24, 2013, at Wheaton Franciscan All Saints Medical Center at age 73.  She was born November 4, 1939, in Barnwell, SC, daughter of the late Haywood Ashley, and Daisy Mae Williams.

Muriel grew up in Brunswick, Georgia, attended Risley High School and was a National Merit Scholarship Finalist.  She played clarinet and piano, and was an accomplished soprano with a far-ranging repertoire.  Although she spoke multiple languages fluently and sang classical and gospel music, she was routinely praised for her interpretation and performance of African-American spirituals.

On July 2, 1960, on Langley Air Force base in Hampton, VA, she was united in marriage to the love of her life, David L. Ferguson Sr.  Over his 28 years in the US Air Force, they were stationed, and raised their family in Virginia, Nevada, Germany, Arizona, North Dakota, Washington, D.C., and Maryland.  Over her career with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps as a Military Childcare Director and Program Manager, she was a mentor to, and resource for, a large number of other child care professionals, while tirelessly advocating for the needs of military children and families.  Blessed with a quick wit and a rare intellect, she was eternally moved by her desire to give voice to the voiceless, and was uncommonly successful at making the needs of military children and families part of the military mission.  She was instrumental to the creation of several innovative programs that continue to benefit military families to this day.

Before retiring to Racine in 2011, she was very active in the community. She was the long-serving President of both the Henson Valley Homeowners Assn. and the Friends of the Oxon Hill Library, and testified before the Maryland General Assembly on such issues as community development and library funding.  In 1999, she received the prestigious “Distinguished Marylander” award.  Above all, she was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother who will be dearly missed.

Surviving are her loving husband of 53 years, David; three children, Daphne (Greg) Bjorgo of Alaska, David (Candace) Ferguson of Racine, Darrin (Darnella) Ferguson of Racine; grandchildren, Julianna and Gabriella Bjorgo, Dorian Ferguson; her sister, Elithis (George) Williams of Newport News, Virginia; nieces, nephews, other relatives and dear friends.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 1, 2013, at 2 p.m. at the funeral home with Reverend Phil Kenner officiating.  Private interment will be held at Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery.  Relatives and friends may meet Saturday at the funeral home from noon until the time of service.

The family wishes to extend a special thank you to Drs. Brigg Barsness and Robert Gullberg, as well as Krystal, R.N. and many of the nurses and other staff members at Wheaton Franciscan All Saints, Oak Ridge Care Center, and LifeCare Hospital for their loving and compassionate care.

803 Main St., Racine    (262) 634-7888

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