Ferguson, William Edgar (6/11/2020)

Green Book and Yearbook photos (if available): 
Freshman dorm: 
Bissell Hall

 




William E. Ferguson, Ph.D. (Bill), age 73, of Springfield, passed from this life and went on to glory Thursday, June 11, 2020 at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. Bill was born on March 25, 1947 in Philadelphia, Pa. to Norman and Annetta Ferguson. His family moved to Ridley Park and he graduated from Ridley Park High School in 1965 where he was a member of the Cross Country and Scott’s Hi-Q teams. Bill went on to receive a B.A. in Psychology from Dartmouth College in 1969, a Master of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970 and a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Bryn Mawr College in 1983. After receiving his Masters Degree, Bill was employed at the Ridley School District as a Guidance Counselor and after receiving his Doctorate he moved to the position of School Psychologist. He went on Early Retirement Disability in 1994 due to health complications from Lyme Disease. Although Bill was very successful academically, he will be most remembered for his caring demeanor, his quick wit and his attitude of gratitude. As a member of Covenant United Methodist Church, he enjoyed serving on the Reassurance team, making phone calls to people who would benefit from someone to talk to. Bill also had a Thanksgiving morning tradition; he would make a list of all the people and blessings in his life for which he was thankful. He was a good friend to many and prided himself on having a new joke to tell, brightening the day for all who interacted with him. The number of lives he touched is immeasurable, leaving a legacy of compassion and caring. Bill was especially grateful for and valued his family. Bill will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 31 years, Ruthanne, and his sons Scott (Ilona) and Ian. He will also be remembered by; his grandchildren Valerija and Jack; his brother Norman (Anne Marie); and many cousins and friends. Due to current health restrictions, there will be a private Graveside Service on Friday, June 19th, at 11 A.M. at Covenant United Methodist Church in Springfield, Pa. for family members only. The family suggests memorial contributions sent to: Covenant United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, 212 W. Springfield Road, Springfield, Pa. 19064 or to Providence Animal Center, 555 Sandy Bank Road, Media, Pa. 19063. Condolences may be sent to griffithfuneralchapel@verizon.net Arrangements are by the Griffith Funeral Chapel in Norwood, Pa.

 


Here is a note from Tex Talmadge:

Classmates,

Several months have passed without our losing one of our own, and it’s with genuine sadness that I report the passing of Bill Ferguson ’69. Many will remember Bill as a lean long-distance runner, a member of his high school cross-country team, and an outstanding student of psychology. He was a Phi Tau brother and a member of The Dartmouth fencing team. I remember his saying 25 years ago that he fancied old cars, and as I recall he had rebuilt one.
 
After Dartmouth he went to Penn, and then to Bryn Mawr, earning a Masters and a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Bill returned to his hometown, working as a guidance counselor in the Ridley School District where he’d grown up. He and Ruthanne were married for 31 years and had two sons, Scott and Ian. In a note at the time of his memorial service in June, Bill was remembered as a man devoted to service, whether through his professional work or his dedication to his Methodist faith. He was described as a great listener, a compassionate friend, and a witty conversationalist. One note said, “The number of lives he touched was immeasurable, leaving a legacy of compassion and caring.” 
 
One of the most touching memories was this: Bill had a Thanksgiving tradition. On Thanksgiving morning he would make a list of all the people and blessings in his life for which he was thankful. That’s a practice that might brighten all of our lives as we live through this challenging and difficult time of pandemic and stress.
 
Memorial contributions can be sent to Covenant United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, 212 W. Springfield Road, Springfield PA 19064.
 
“As a young ’69,” Bill wrote, I believed in ending the war, romantic involvements, beer, and living an honest life with some contribution to mankind.” By the time we reached our 25th reunion, he said that he’d given up drinking, but the other other life commitments were holding fast. He was already battling Lyme disease, but even in the face of that debilitating condition he found life lessons, saying that such chronic conditions help us maintain a sense of humility.
 
If you remember Bill Ferguson and can share some thoughts and reflections with me, I would greatly appreciate it. I will include a remembrance in the The Dartmouth Alumni Magazine Class Notes, and we will be sending a note to his family. Please let me hear from you.
 
Stay safe out there, stay in touch, and say a prayer for the family of one of our boys of Dartmouth.
 
Tex
 
John M. Talmadge ’69
Class Secretary
 

A comment from friend and classmate, Phil Bush:

Bill (Ferg or Fergie) was seriously in love with his car at Dartmouth, one of the Saab models of the time with a 2-cycle engine. For him it defined “cool”.  He stayed in love with cars through the rest of his life.

Though he was a high school cross country runner, his sports at Dartmouth were pool and ping pong. He enjoyed besting all comers in both.  Freshman year he spent hours in the basement of Bissell Hall with suitemates playing ping pong. His altruistic side was nourished by getting others’ level up to where they could win some points against him, while his competitive side kept him always at least a few points ahead.

Four others from his Bissell suite pledged Phi Tau sophomore year, not including Bill.  They convinced him to join late in junior year.  It helped that there was a pool table and usually a willing victim.  He would play 8-ball, but he preferred 9-ball with its more challenging shots.  He could pocket combinations, curve the cue ball with massé shots, and psych out and amuse his opponent with a stream of what we would now call trash talk.

Bill loved the 60’s music of the Philly area, especially Doo Wop, a capella groups, and others featured on American Bandstand.  One of his favorite songs was “The Bristol Stomp” by the Dovells. While many of us were into the Beatles or folk music, Bill stayed true to his preference for the sounds of Philadelphia.

Bill was not always happy at Dartmouth.  Late in freshman year he decided to transfer, but his father convinced him to hang in. He did come to appreciate the easy access to beer, which began a several-year struggle with alcoholism, followed by decades of recovery and gratitude. 

Bill met the complications of Lyme Disease, a lot of surgeries, and other physical challenges, with grace and his usual good humor.  He spent many hours on the phone as a volunteer in a group at the church he and his wife Ruthanne attended, talking to folks who needed someone to talk to. No doubt he lightened many lives.