Julia Mae Ferguson
July 26, 1930 – January 13, 2020
I, Julia Mae Hofer Ferguson was born in Congress Park, Illinois on July 26, 1930 to Francis Ada Fitzsimmons Hofer and Harvey Hiram Hofer. I was the last of five children in the Hofer family. There were three girls and two boys in the family. My father was a carpenter and had a construction business in Congress Park. It was during the depression years and in 1932 we moved to a small farm acreage in Strawberry Point, Iowa. My father joined the CCC's and worked in the construction of buildings in the Backbone State Park nearby. He had access to rocky farm land and gathered the stones to build a lovely rock house that still stands beautifully as you enter the town. We had cows to milk and pigs and chickens to feed and to provide us food. I picked strawberries and rhubarb and all of the other tasty vegetables. There were trees to climb and leaves to rake and neighbors to join in fun and games. Strawberry Point had a population of 1200 people. We were a musical family. My Dad played the violin, mother the piano, brother the harmonica and the rest of us took piano lessons. We would have weekly gatherings around the piano and sing all of the well known songs of the time. And then World War II called Dad off to work away from home, brothers joined the Navy and sisters married. Sadly, my Dad lost his strumming finger in a machine accident and that ended his violin accompaniment. I was in the 8th grade when we moved onto a farm in Lamont, Iowa...only about 25 miles from Strawberry Point. I was the farm girl who milked the cows, plowed the fields and became very active in school activities. My Freshman year I became a regular member of the Girls Basketball Team. I went through High School as JUDY HOFER because my basketball friends thought JULIA was too much to holler on the court! There were 26 students in my class. 13 boys and 13 girls. I was Salutatorian of my graduating class. I enjoyed performing in the school plays. Several summers my English Teacher called on me to help prepare material for her. I was speedy on the typewriter and I was pleased to be given a pair of "pure silk hose." This was war time and silk hose were hard to find. I had an interesting variation of church experiences. Mother was very involved in Church Education and also played the organ for Sunday services. My early years were in the METHODIST CHURCH. And then spent one year in the CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH before being confirmed in the GERMAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN CHURCH. When we moved to the farm in Lamont, it was back to the Methodist Church and that's where most of my friends attended. I wanted very much to get a college education. Dad didn't think it was necessary, but after graduation Mom learned about a correspondence business school in Omaha, Nebraska and signed me up for the classes. And then she learned that they had families who would "adopt" students from the school in exchange for babysitting and chores so at the ripe old age of 16, I boarded the train in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and went to Omaha, Nebraska. I was fortunate to have a caring Christian family that I lived with for 10 months, and they attended DUNDEE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. I sang in the Omaha City Chorus for several years and met some very fine friends. We did some double dating and on one occasion, the other fellow said he'd call me. He did, but he suggested that I meet a friend of his who lived in the same rooming house with him. So, the next double date was with CECIL LAMAR FERGUSON. We were married in the chapel at FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH in Omaha on a rainy Saturday, June 17, 1950. After the birth of our son and daughter, Cecil informed me that Dr. Niven, Pastor, had given him two coupons. One coupon said "boy" and the other said "girl" and we cashed them both in! I taught Sunday School, all grades. Was Director of Vacation Bible School and Church School Superintendent at First Presbyterian. In 1972 we were transferred to Denver, Colorado where we found a home in Lakewood. Three years later we were transferred back to Omaha where we joined the COMMUNITY UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST. With two children in college, I went back to work at the Omaha Metropolitan Community College in the Library. I was able to take classes for credit and received a two year certificate of credits that were transferrable to a University. Several of our First Presbyterian friends had transferred to Northwest Hills United Church of Christ and they were looking for a person to be in charge of Christian Education. I applied and served as Director of Christian Education for 5 years. I received a Certificate of Status as a Commissioned Worker in the UCC on May 17, 1981 and on January 1, 1983 received certification as an Accredited Church Educator by the Committee on Certification for Church Educators of the United Church of Christ. My certificate is signed by Avery Post, then President of the United Church of Christ. I began an annual WORSHIP SERVICE presented by OUR CHURCH CLOWNS. All participants dressed in clown outfits of their choosing and we praised God in song and dance and scripture. The church was full on those Sundays. Creative church members became involved in writing and directing the service and on the 25th Anniversary of the United Church of Christ we had a very special service. A copy of that service was sent to the Board of Homeland Ministries to be placed in the cornerstone of the new church headquarters to be built in Ohio. Since I did not have a college degree, it was necessary for me to continue my education to keep my Certification. At this time, Cecil retired and we visited friends and relatives in Sun City in December 1984. Upon our way home, Cecil had decided he was ready to move. We surprised family and friends upon our sudden departure from Omaha. At that time I was and still am a College Sophomore! Our Pastor in Omaha was knowledgeable about the U.C.C. churches in Sun City and suggested United Church. At that time it was just identified as a Community Church. and that didn't identify it for me otherwise. We joined the church the year of its 25th anniversary, October 20, 1985. I was a deaconess and chaired the Diaconate for two years before becoming Vice Moderator in 1987. That was the year that Rev. Dr. Felible took his leave which was followed by the resignation of Rev. Maynard Beemer. The Rev. Don Rowland served as Interim until Rev. Bob Carlson joined us in 1988. That was a year to be remembered! I enjoy staying active in the community. I have been a Handbell Ringer of Sun City member for my 25 years residency and enjoy ringing with our United Church Handbell Ringers. I am blessed to have my son, Dr. L. Alan Ferguson, D.D.S., living in Scottsdale with his partner, John Glave. Daughter Marla Ann Ferguson lives in Palisade, Colorado with her partner Michael Leak and my only grandchild, Nathan Smith is in Grand Junction, Colorado. In 2006, Blessing Service was provided for me and my partner, Clyde Tooman. We enjoy traveling, dancing and especially golfing together. God has been very good to me and I look forward to my trip HOME! In May of 2019 I sold my house and moved to an apartment in Sun Valley Lodge. After a very brief illness I finally went HOME on January 13, 2020. I am truly blessed!
- Memorial Service Sunday, January 19, 2020
Julia Mae Ferguson
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