“My interest is in improving the families of the community,” Ferguson told The Miami Herald in 2000. “I support them at school; I represent families in trouble in the courts. Wherever I can be of help to influence changes that will benefit students, I am there.”
Ferguson’s sole weakness, said Jackson: “a sweet tooth. They’d bake him a cake and they’d have his attention.”
Her father’s life experience made him “a bridge builder, not a bridge burner,” said daughter Karen. He lived through the Great Depression and “hard-core segregation. He helped desegregate the Navy, and went to the brig many times because he stood up for a lot of people.
“He’s truly black history. He wanted to even the playing field and promote balance.”
And he preached that “voting is power,” she said. “He didn’t care if you were a Democrat or Republican, you had to get out and vote.”
When the School Board notified Ferguson that it planned to name a proposed high school at 15900 SW 56th St. in his honor, he was thrilled, daughter Karen said.
“He got a chance to see the dedication of the school and attend four class graduations,” she said. “He left footprints.”
There was “no better dad,” she added. “He treated each of us like the only child. He let us use his Lincoln. He never had anything that we didn’t have access to . .. He didn’t have a lot of money, but he was a rich man.”
Even in retirement, Ferguson kept up with his personal missions: leading the community development corporation and visiting the sick. He regularly had breakfast with former Schools Superintendent Rudy Crew, and talked often to County Commissioner Dennis Moss and former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, Karen Webb said.
In addition to his daughters, both of Miami, Ferguson is survived by sons Javan, of Tallahassee; Keith, of Augusta, Ga.; and Bryan, of Miami; twin sister Edith Johnson, of Miami; and brother Phillip, of Nassau, Bahamas. Six grandchildren and three great-granddaughters also survive.
A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Second Baptist Church, 11111 Pinkston Dr., Richmond Heights.
His family asked that instead of sending flowers, friends make donations to the Richmond Heights CDC Scholarship Fund, at 11525 SW 136th Ter., Miami, Fla. 33176