Mary Margaret Tally Ferguson, of Woodward, Oklahoma, died peacefully on October 27th, 2016 at the age of 79 in the Integris Baptist Hospital, Oklahoma City, with her daughter, Elizabeth, by her side.
Mary was born on August 6th, 1937 in Manila, Philippine Islands, to Fred and Margaret Tally, while her father was stationed there as a Captain in the army. Following his army transfers, in 1939 the family moved to Palo Alto, California and then to Salt Lake City in 1940. In October of 1941, Lt. Colonel Fred Tally received orders to return to the Philippines. Mary then moved with her mother and younger sister Cynthia, to Fredericksburg, Texas, her mother's home.
Mary enjoyed sharing with family and friends many treasured memories of her time in Fredericksburg, including presenting the key to the city of Fredericksburg to Admiral Chester Nimitz, playing the role of the Easter Bunny in the annual Fredericksburg Easter Fires pageant, and winning the American Medical Association's county prize for best essay.
Mary attended Hockaday School in Dallas beginning in Tenth Grade. At school she was awarded the Courtesy Cap, and took leadership roles including serving as Vice President of House Council, Chairman of the Community Service Committee and Chairman of the Vespers program. Mary received a BA in English at Hollins College in 1959. During her time at Hollins, Mary spent a year abroad, based in Paris, where she studied at the Sorbonne and the British Institute of Travels.
In June of 1959 Mary started working at the United Nations Secretariat in New York City as a secretary in the executive office of general services. Mary loved to talk about witnessing first hand Nikita Khrushchev's shoe-banging incident which occurred during the United Nations General Assembly meeting held in New York in 1960.
Mary met Mead Ferguson while living in New York City. They were married there on November 25th, 1960 at Saint Thomas Episcopal Church. They shared 56 years of marriage, family, friendships, travels and adventures. Mead passed away exactly six weeks before Mary.
Following Mead's career, Mary and Mead moved to Houston in 1961, and the growing family moved back to New York City in 1964 where they remained until 1968. During this time Mary juggled mothering her three children while serving in several volunteer organizations, including the Institute of International Education and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston,and in the Junior League in New York City.
In 1968 the family moved to London, England, where they would spend the next 11 years. Mead's job as an oil executive involved a frequent amount of travel away from home, leaving Mary to manage home and children alone. She lived a rich life volunteering at her children's schools, serving as Cub Scout Den leader, taking culinary classes at Le Cordon Bleu, serving in the Women's Royal Voluntary Service, and planning memorable family trips throughout Europe. In 1980 the family moved to Woodward Oklahoma where Mary and Mead remained for the next 36 years. Mary became a lively member of the Woodward community very quickly.
She was an active member of St. John's Episcopal Church where she served on the Vestry, and was Senior Warden in 1995 and 1996. Mary also participated at the First Presbyterian Church where she was active with the Presbyterian Women, and led several Bible Study classes. She was a member of the Gamma Club and of the philanthropic organization, P.E.O., which provides scholarships to women. She was passionate about the Arts, and was an active supporter of the Literacy Council, the Woodward Arts Theater and the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum.
Mary was compassionate, generous, kind, and an exceptionally friendly person. The same sweet disposition that won her the Courtesy Cap at Hockaday School endeared her to all she met throughout her life and travels. She had a way of making everyone feel comfortable in her presence. Mary created a rich and colorful tapestry with her life in the friendships that she formed, the outreach she gave to others, the traditions she instilled in her family, and in all the little things she did that made special days magical and beautiful.
Mary is survived by her three children, Elizabeth, Tally and Christopher and their spouses James Stoeffel, Noreen Casey and Christina Ferguson. She leaves behind five grandchildren: Price and Christopher Stoeffel, Casey and Mikey Ferguson and Nicola Ferguson, and her sister Cynthia Charlotte McDonald. She was preceded in death by her husband Mead Ferguson, and by her parents Lt. Col. Fred Tally and Margaret Fricke.
Mary will be missed by all.
Mary's life will be celebrated at a funeral service held on Saturday, November 12th at 2:00 p.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church in Woodward with interment of ashes following at Elmwood Cemetery. A reception will be held afterwards at the church. Rev Mary Davis and Pastor Ann Wasson will officiate. In lieu of flowers, please consider a charitable donation in Mary's honor to St. John's Episcopal Church, Woodward, Oklahoma, the First Presbyterian Church of Woodward Oklahoma, or to a charity of your choice.
Remembrances may be shared online at www.billingsfuneralhomewoodward.com
Published on November 8, 2016