Pat Ferguson born February 21, 1936; died May 28, 2019.
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Daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, helpmate, lover, and friend to all who met her.
Pat was born on the family homestead in 1936. Luella was the midwife, and Patrick the man sent to get the midwife. Pat was Luella Patricia, called Patsy during her growing up years. Her paternal grandparents had the homestead and her father lived there all his life, taking over the farming and orchards after his father’s passing.
Pat was a determined, obstinate, directed young woman. She was unafraid of speaking her mind. She was decisive and enjoyed organizing: her life, her husband’s life and the lives of her children.
Pat lived in Moose Jaw for high school, then completed secretarial school. She moved from Moose Jaw to Prince Albert to work at Robin Hood flour company. Dale proposed in October 1956 and they were married later that year. While in Prince Albert Pat and Dale had 4 children, Stacey, Martin, Dana and Jeff. Pat took great pride in keeping house, raising 4 children, andbeing a helpmate to Dale. Everything ran like a well oiled machine under her care and direction. Many friends were made in Prince Albert; friendships that would last for many years.
In 1967 Pat and Dale moved their family to Edmonton so Dale could go to university to get an Education degree. It was in Edmonton that they met Patrick and Vi Johnstone, and Jim and Ulla DeBruijn. These two couples would become a very important in Pat and Dale’s lives. The children would be cared for by one or other other of the women. It was not unusual to see 9 or more children spill out of Pat’s house for a run around the block - to give Pat a few minutes peace - children running, walking, riding bikes, pushing strollers or prams. The older children got to circle the block twice. Brilliant woman.
The Fergusons and Johnstones would take many trips together including 8 weeks in Australia and New Zealand in the early 80’s. The families travelled together to Naramata - one year Pat and Vi took the Ferguson’s tent trailer to Naramata, all by themselves with 6 kids, while the men were in summer school at the UofA. The men, Patrick and Dale, drove out to Naramata at the end of the week to meet their families and travel home.
In 1969 Dale got a job teaching at the High School in Ponoka. After a year he transferred to the Junior High where he taught Industrial Arts until 1993. Ponoka was where they stayed until their move to Red Deer in 1998. Jim and Ulla DeBruijn also moved to Ponoka. Many a good time was had out at the DeBruijn farm.
Ponoka. The highlight of their lives. Pat worked a variety of jobs; in the office at Alberta Hospital; on the school board, after very strict legal advice, because Dale was a teacher; on the Provincial learning disabilities board; and, for Ross Wilson, optometrists.
Pat dedicated her life to her family. She had the ability to gather a huge number of friends. It was very common that an invitation would go out to school teachers on a Friday to stop in for buns, cinnamon buns and a pot of stew, or chili. The house would fill with people from 4PM until after midnight. Children filled the house or yard, depending on the weather. The adults would sit around the big oak table in the dining room, visiting, drinking coffee, playing games. All the while, Pat was the perfect hostess.
Every month of the year there was a weiner roast, whether in the winter after a day of skiing or tobogganing or in the heat of summer after a canoe trip. Friends were invited; families met; children played. Camping was another great adventure of the Ferguson’s; as was hiking some of the mountain trail in BC. Pat was the planner and organizer; everything was packed neatly and orderly. There was the summer at Naramata when she made a cherry pie in an old wood stove. The cherries were not pitted, but the Fergusons were the envy of the camp ground.
Square dancing; New Year’s Eve parties; Hallowe’en get togethers with friends; Friday evening dinners; outings; season tickets to the Citadel, CATS, and other theatre productions; Sunday brunches at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre; shopping weekends in Edmonton with the Golden Girls; Fairmont on the May long weekend and Farmer’s Day weekend in June with family and friends. Pat planned and organized; and the family loved it. Pat loved the many good friendships made during the years in Ponoka.
In 1997, after too many winter drives to events on bad roads, Pat and Dale moved to Red Deer. They built a house for their retirement. The biggest part of the house was the kitchen/dining room/living room - wide open for all to enjoy. Pat and Dale travelled extensively; camping in their trailer; Italy; Florida; Cowboy Poetry; Gospel weekends; anywhere there was fun and adventure. Many trips were made back to Moose Jaw while Pat and Dale cared for aging parents. Pat and Dale moved into a condo at the Sierras of Taylor in order to continue long vacations without having the worry of yard work.
Pat organized several celebrations for her parents; birthdays; anniversaries; family reunions, both in Canada and the United States; and, most significantly, her parent’s 72 wedding anniversary and her father’s 100th birthday. Pat’s parents died in 2008, 8 days apart. Pat was devastated. It was at this time that the family began to notice changes in Pat.
It was during a river boat excursion to Europe in 2010 that Pat fell and broke her shoulder. Dale learned to cook as Pat’s recovery was slow. Still they continued to enjoy life; games; dinners with friends and family; the theatre; singing and dancing. Pat’s house was always filled with music. As she aged, like a teenager, the music was turned up and up to higher and higher volumes. Dale was happy with loud music as hearing was not good. Dancing in the kitchen, in the living room. Pat would dance to any good song that was played on the radio, heard on the Bose. In later years, when her mobility was not good and she was using a walker; she could still dance. Her hips may be too sore to walk, but they were good enough to dance.
As dementia progressed, Dale found it harder and harder to care for Pat, even with the help of Our Linda. Pat’s world revolved around Dale. Dale’s world revolved around Pat. After a fall and a month of Pat living in a nursing home on the other side of town, it was apparent that they both needed to live in the same building. Both moved into Points West Living in June 2018 - Pat to a dementia unit and Dale into independent living. If they could not live in the same house, then the same building would do just fine.
Our Linda, Pat and Dale’s private support worker. An instant bond connected Pat and Dale to Linda. She came into our lives with respect, compassion, a soft voice and determined attitude. Never pushy or demanding, she cared for Pat with love and respect. She was the family's eyes in the sky and feet on the ground. Without Linda’s care Pat would have been placed on a dementia unit 2 or 3 years earlier. Her assistance has been invaluable. The whole family has come to love her and appreciate all she does.
Pat’s world revolved around Dale. Dementia took her perception of time, so he could be gone for months when it was actually just a few days. He was her sun and her moon.As soon as he walked in to where she was, she would smile and settle. Pat had been Dale’s helpmate; her number one role. She took the greatest joy and pride in caring for Dale. It was the measuring stick of her life. All the other roles she took on were things she had to do, or work she had to take on so the family could have those little extras.
Pat/Mom/Nanny will be especially missed by her loving husband of 63 years, Dale Ferguson, and their family: daughter Stacey, grandchildren Jessie (Peter), Kalindy, and Melaney, great-grandchildren Jordan, Joshua, Jaelynn and Kendra; son Martin (daughter-in-law Mary Ellen), grandchildren Daniel and Emily; daughter Dana (son-in-law Ian Glassford), granchildren Samuel, Graeme, Shannon and James; son Jeff (daughter-in-law Claire), grandchildren Elizabeth, Mason, Olivia, Shawn, Aariana and Annalyia); and brother Frank Felt of Moose Jaw.
A little of Pat will live on in all of us, triggered by the sound of a special song, or smell of a cinnamon bun, or the rolling rattle of dice on a Wahoo board.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Pat at 1:00 PM on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at the Sunnybrook United Church, 12 Stanton Street, in Red Deer.