FERGUSON Sr., Jess E.
Jesse E. Ferguson Sr., was called to eternal rest on Wednesday, January 1, 2014, after a lengthy illness. He was born June 5, 1922 to David Herbert Ferguson and Isabel Beatrice Lang in Alachua, Florida. He was the baby boy of seven children and grew up in a migrant farming family that stressed education and hard work. Jesse attended Bethune-Cookman College and when World War II began, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy where he served for four years in the Pacific rim as a quartermaster. After the war, Jesse resumed his education at Hampton Institute(University) where he earned a bachelor degree in Agriculture. While enrolled at Hampton, he was a charter member of the Gamma Epsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Following graduation, Jesse taught at North Carolina A & T University. It was during his tenure there where he met Ardata Beam who was his wife for 43 years. With determination, Jesse continued in his pursuit for excellence and earned a Masters degree from New York University
. The family moved to Jacksonville where Jesse became a member of the faculty at Edward Waters College and held positions that included counselor, teacher interviewer, and Director of Student Personnel. He also developed that deep radio voice as a DJ on the legendary Ken Knight radio show. Later the Fergusons moved to Riviera Beach, Florida, where Jesse worked as a guidance counselor at John F. Kennedy High School-. The family joined Simpson Memorial United Methodist Church where Jesse was one of the earliest members. He sang in the choir, served as lay leader, class leader, delivered sermons and held many other positions and remained active for over fifty years of his membership. Jesse was also a devoted member of the Kappa Upsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Over the years he held many positions and was recognized as Omega Man of the Year and Citizen of the Year. His career climb led him to Palm Beach Junior College where he guided students as the assistant registrar and later evening registrar and remained in that position until he retired. During retirement, he spent years caring for his wife Ardata who predeceased him. Jesse gave back to the community by working tirelessly with the Urban League of Palm Beach County and the Gold Coast Voters League. He was President of the Classroom Teachers Association, Chairman of the Human Relations Committee and served on the Board of Directors for the NAACP. He served on the West Palm Beach City Manager's Advisory Committee and he made history by becoming the first African American Port Commissioner for Palm Beach County in 1988. In 2006 he was fortunate that the lovely Ms. Helen Anthony accepted his proposal in marriage. They traveled, entertained and were one of West Palm's most active couples until his illness. At that point, Helen was always at his side providing support and tirelessly cared for him as the illness progressed. He was predeceased by his first wife Ardata, his sisters Chiquita, Delphia, Elvera, Ester Mae and his brothers Herbert and Tourgee. In addition to Helen, Jesse leaves to cherish his memory: his sons - Leon, Jesse, David (Darlene), four grandchildren Tory, Jason, Spencer and Grace, one greatgrand - Mya, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. His family and friends will always remember him as a dapper dresser, with an engaging smile, and a head full of gray (white) hair. He was a man of action, quiet strength and a problem solver. Forever loyal and committed to whatever person or cause he chose. He was a man you could always depend on to provide support, direction, encouragement or whatever the situation called for to see it through. Homegoing Services will be held Wednesday, January 9, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1556 6th Street, West Palm Beach, FL. with Reverend Ann Davis, Pastor. Friends may call from 11:00 a.m. until service time at the church mentioned above. Interment at Royal Palm Memorial Gardens.
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