By Wood Glen Hall
She grew up on a historic Goleta ranch, rode in the 1937 Rose Bowl Parade, traveled the country as a military wife, raised six children, and dedicated countless years of volunteer service to local nonprofit organizations.
On May 29, Jean McDermott Ferguson, who lives at the Wood Glen retirement residence in Santa Barbara, will add yet another item to her long list of accomplishments: Turning 101 years old in May.
Born in 1922, McDermott Ferguson spent her early years on the Campbell Ranch, today the site of Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, in Goleta. Her father, Francis McDermott, was manager of the ranch, and she and her two brothers, James and Frank, lived an idyllic farm life.
When her father became Santa Barbara’s Commissioner of Parks in the 1930s, the family moved to Santa Barbara. McDermott Ferguson graduated from Dolores Girls High School in 1940. While in high school in 1937, she rode on the Santa Barbara Rose Bowl Parade float.
During World War II, she met and married a handsome U.S. Army tank officer from Kentucky named Jack Ferguson. After the war, they settled in Santa Barbara enjoying the company of their many friends.
Jack Ferguson was recalled to the Army in 1951 because of the Korean War and he remained in the military for twenty years. The couple had six children. McDermott Ferguson still enjoys telling incredible stories about her life as a military wife and mother, including the times she drove across the United States in a giant Buick with four of her children before the days of cell phones and ATMs. How did she do it?
The Fergusons retired to Santa Barbara in the early 1970s and became involved in Republican politics, Catholic Charities of Santa Barbara County, San Roque Catholic Church and playing bridge. Passionate about Santa Barbara history, McDermott Ferguson was a volunteer docent for many years with The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation and the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.
As a centenarian, McDermott Ferguson remains full of energy and with a zest for life, evidenced by her storytelling to family and friends, and quick pace around the halls of Wood Glen with her walker. Sadly, she outlived her beloved husband and two of her six children, but she enjoys time with her family, eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, one great-great-granddaughter, and many friends.
About Wood Glen Hall:
Wood Glen Hall is a non-profit retirement residence in the quiet foothills area of Santa Barbara and provides superior, affordable independent and assisted living for seniors.