Marjorie (Marge) Ferguson Roberts, age 80, was born March 5, 1939 to Merle Ferguson and Alice (Ward) Ferguson in Brocton, New York. Surrounded by family, she entered eternity January 12, 2020. Marge grew up in Brocton and attended Brocton Central School all of K-12, graduating from high school in 1957. She graduated in 1961 from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and earned her Master's Degree from SUNY in 1967. Truly a lifelong learner, she furthered her studies at Nova Southeastern University, earning a Doctorate of Education in 1992. After teaching in New York for several years, she began her Florida teaching career at Samoset Elementary in 1967 and went on to become one of the first teachers of Gifted Ed in Manatee County. Marge was a member of Phi Delta Kappa, an education fraternity whose purpose is to promote free public education as essential to democracy, and was also a member, and served as President, of The Delta Kappa Gamma Society. Her teaching career eventually led to serving as Manatee’s Director of Exceptional Student Education.
After a long and distinguished career, Marge retired from the school system in 1995. Her service did not end there, however, as she soon taught as an adjunct professor at Nova and also served several Florida districts as a consultant. Never one to stay idle, Marge became the Director of Education at Samoset Baptist Church where she organized countless Vacation Bible Schools, Sunday school classes, Walk Through Bethlehem, and special events. Her Golden Circle Sunday School ladies loved her deeply and her church family cherished her.
Marge met the love of her life at the birthday party of her future mother-in-law, Eva Roberts, in the winter of 1966. Marge’s parents rented a small duplex from the Roberts each winter, which lead to Bill and Marge’s serendipitous meeting and subsequent romance. They were married August 11, 1967, at Samoset Baptist and not only did she gain a husband but also four children, no easy undertaking for a young woman of 28. She and Bill were constant companions for over 50 years, and they loved each other dearly through the joys and sorrows of life. They enjoyed traveling and together visited Martinique, the Bahamas, Papua New Guinea, England and Kenya. They also loved their pets and were “parents” to many cats and dogs over their many years together. Most recently Marge found joy in her cat Simba who brought her great solace after Bill’s passing in March of 2019.
Marge grew to love Florida although she often reminisced about the lovely seasons she experienced growing up in upstate New York. Her life in Florida brought new challenges, hobbies and adventures. In addition to traveling with her family, Marge enjoyed reading, cross-stitching, antiquing, and studying the Bible. She was a student of scripture and loved teaching others. She also stayed abreast of current educational trends and appreciated “lively” conversations about the current state of Florida education.
Marge was incredibly giving but did so quietly and without fanfare. In addition to her consistent giving to Boys Town, Habitat for Humanity, and Meals on Wheels, many have recently shared how she helped them with money for groceries, a hospital bill, or past-due rent. She was a blessing and gave with no thought of receiving in return, believing that her material wealth was to be used in the service to others.
Marge is predeceased by her husband, William “Bill” Roberts; parents, Merle and Alice Ferguson; son, James Michael (Jimmy); sisters-in-law Virginia Barco and Nina Ferguson; and her brother-in-law Millard; and three grandchildren. She is survived by her brother Don of Little Genesee, New York; sister-in-law Anita of Tallahassee; son Lynn (Lynda) of Tampa; daughters Angie (Greg) of Belle and Sheila (Devan) of St. Augustine; six grandchildren and their spouses; five great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. Visitation will be held from 11:00AM-12:00PM Saturday, January 18, 2020 at Samoset Baptist Church, 3200 15th Street East, Samoset, FL 34208, followed by the funeral service at noon. All are invited to join the family at a luncheon immediately after the service. Pastor Roland Davis, Marge’s pastor and dear friend, will officiate the service with arrangements being made by Griffith-Cline. A private interment will take place later that day. Memorial donations may be made to Samoset First Baptist Church.
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Samoset First Baptist Church
3200 15th Street East, Bradenton FL 34205