VIDEO | Goodbye, Florence Ferguson

VIDEO | Goodbye, Florence Ferguson

August 26, 2022 0 By Horace Mills

Retired educator Florence Spaulding-Ferguson has been laid to rest at Thetford Park Cemetery in Old Harbour, St Catherine.

The 73-year-old lost her battle with stage four uterine cancer on Monday, 27 June 2022, at Linstead Public Hospital where she was admitted for just over a week.

A number of people attended her thanksgiving service on Monday, August 15, at the Church of the First Born of Jamaica, Bethel Gospel Hall, in her adopted hometown of Linstead, St Catherine. She was an active member of that church, even serving as secretary.

Mrs Ferguson, the ninth of 12 children for her parents, hails from humble beginnings in a community called Taylor Hill, not far from Gordon Town in St Andrew.

The late Florence Ferguson at different stages of her life

Unlike her siblings who opted to learn a trade, she was always a stickler for academics.

Mrs Ferguson attended Ardenne High School (1961-1966), Mico Teachers College (1966-1969), as well as the University of the West Indies (1975-1978) where she attained a Bachelor’s degree in Language and Linguistics Studies. She also pursued short courses.

She taught mainly Spanish, but dabbled in French and English Language.

The secondary schools where Mrs Ferguson worked in Jamaica included Edwin Allen High (1969-1970), Alston High (1971-1972), Enid Bennett High (1972-1977), and Charlemont High where she did different stints from 1978 to 1987 and from 1993 until her retirement.

Florence Ferguson’s children (left to right) Carolyn, Cherylmae and Oliver during a tribute at her thanksgiving service

While at Charlemont, Mrs Ferguson reached the pinnacle of her career, serving as acting principal and vice principal as well as head of the Spanish Department.

She was among the first batch of 12 teachers employed when Charlemont High opened in 1978, and she has the distinction of being the first teacher to sign that school’s register.

During her break from Charlemont High, Mrs Ferguson taught Spanish and English Language at Raymond Gardner High School in Turks and Caicos Islands (1987 -1991).

Upon her return to Jamaica, she served as Principal at St Helen’s Prep School in Linstead (1991-1992) and taught briefly at Calabar High.

Pall bearers taking Florence Ferguson’s casket from the hearse to the grave inside Thetford Park Cemetery in Old Harbour

Mrs Ferguson, who also had a short tenure as correctional officer, was honoured by the Governor General of Jamaica for her stellar contribution to education.

Her son, Oliver Ferguson, in delivering the eulogy at her funeral, alluded to the phrase that one will never work a day in one’s life if one chooses a job that one loves.

“Taking that one on, Florence Ferguson never worked a day in her life. There is nothing that she loves more than teaching Spanish,” her son told the congregation, adding that his mom could easily have remained a principal or could have served at the Ministry of Education.

He further stated that, after his mother retired from Charlemont High, she taught Spanish at Dinthill Technical High, Trinity Prep, as well as the Linstead campus of Moneague College.

Florence Ferguson’s final resting place inside Thetford Park Cemetery in Old Harbour

Mrs Ferguson was not all about teaching and church.

She served as an executive member of the Spanish Teachers Association of Jamaica, as well as secretary of the Rose Hall Citizens Association and the Rose Hall Neighbourhood Watch in the Linstead area. In addition, she was a former president of the Lions Club of North St Catherine.

Mrs Ferguson, it is said, loved sports cars, clocks and watches, fancy shoes, and technological devices – even those that she couldn’t use.

She had a passion for collecting coins from around the world, for shopping, and for traveling to different countries.

She is survived by several relatives, including her three children – Carolyn, Cherylmae and Oliver. Her husband, Rolin Ferguson, predeceased her.

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