Margaret Ferguson

September 16, 2020


Margaret Geneva Ferguson, 91, Fort Smith departed this life September 11, 2020, youngest of nine children a loving daughter of James Berry and Dollie (McCloud) Ferguson. She was a dedicated church worker and community leader; born in Charleston, AR October 22, 1928 and died September 11, 2020 in Fort Smith, AR. She attended Rosenwald Grammar School in Charleston; and graduated Lincoln High School, Fort Smith, AR. She Attended Sumner Junior College, Kansas City, KS. She also completed classes at Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics, Bryant and Stratton Business College, Illinois Real Estate Institute,  Illinois Institute of Technology Business Administration, two hundred sixty four hours of business training at Xerox Corp School, training from H&R Block Taxes. She was a Deputy Registrar for the State of Illinois.

Margaret Geneva joined the Colored Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, August 15, 1948 at St. Peter’s in Kansas City,  KS.  She moved to Chicago in March of 1954 and joined St. Paul church. Since 1948 she was a dedicated church worker as a Sunday School Superintendent of the Children’s Department, teacher, Usher, Missionary, Steward and Lay Leader. She also held District, Annual Conference Secretary and Reporter at the National office with the National Women’s League. In Kansas City Geneva was the first black to work in an open office at Macy’s Department Store, she also worked at Wolf Bros. and was an inspector at the Lake City Defense Plant.

Margaret moved to Chicago to work for Johnson Publishing Company as a mail clerk and assistant receptionist, a tour guide, meeting people from around the world, and Editorial Library Clerk.  She was the first female Automotive Manufacturing Sales Rep. she worked at A.R. Funeral Home as a bookkeeper. She dedicated many years to Xerox Company (1975~1987) and retired as a Financial Control Specialist, then went back in t real estate as a broker.

Margaret gave many speeches to social, civic and religious groups. She was knowledgeable of church history, she wrote and published a book on Methodist History in 1989. The book is in many public libraries in Chicago, Johnson Publishing, University of Chicago, North Western University, Hindu University, and the Chicago Historical Society.

Margaret is listed in Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who in the World; she was the subject of three t.v. shows and hosted a talk show, volunteered at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind. Learned to read braille. She won two V103 Radio Station contest for helping others. She received a culture award, proclamation a and a key to the city of Fort Smith, AR, and appeared in Jet Magazine.

She traveled throughout the USA including Hawaii, the Bahamas, Canada, England, France, Brussels, Amsterdam, Africa, Nairobi and Kenya.

In her home were pictures of her with the Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, Sammy Davis Sr., Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Mayor Harold Washington.

She was a member of PUSH, NAACP, NCKW, IPA, State Street Council of Women, Lambda Kappa Mu Sorority, and Hyde Park Co-op Board Member.

Her favorite scripture was Matthew 7:12

At Margaret’s request and due to Covid a private graveside service was held 11AM Monday September 14, 2020 at Nixon Cemetery, Charleston, AR. Arraignments were under the direction of Smith Mortuary; Charleston, AR.

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