By Nina Garcia
NOTE: A balloon release service will be held May 22, 2020 at 6 pm, Flag Pole Hill Park, 8015 Doran Circle, Dallas, 75201. Bring teal and purple balloons to be released in celebration of Ruth’s birthday, and books that will be donated in her name.
It saddens me to write about the recent passing of a colleague and good friend of mine, Ruth Ferguson. I am still in disbelief that she is no longer here with us and my mind refuses to fully accept the thought.
I was unsure of what I wanted to say or how to say it. There are no words that would even come close to express the grief I felt but I wanted to say something. I am hoping to provide some insight as to what a great person she was. Ruth’s friendship was such a profound influence on me. More than she would ever know.
I first met Ruth many years ago as I was recruited to be part of North Dallas Gazette‘s team, where she was the Editor. I remember being somewhat intimidated upon first meeting her because of her position as editor and her eminence of professionalism. I was more grateful to be working alongside a minority woman with that title. At the time, I hadn’t met any editors who were just that.
As a novice to the works of a newspaper, I looked to Ruth for guidance. I remember I had so many questions and I relied on her expertise. So much so that at times I believe I was a headache to her but she never led on. Her demeanor was always a somber one.
In all the time that I have known Ruth she has always worked for more than one organization. Not only for a newspaper outlet, but social media and web companies, to charities that offered services to indigent families and as a freelance writer. I admired her dedication and tenacity.
As if that wasn’t enough, she was an advocate, an active volunteer and a mentor throughout the community. With the nature of her position, she was always abreast of events, festivals, job fairs, municipal ongoings, school activities and so on. She showed support by not only promoting and providing beneficial information to locals but also by attending.
She would tell me of her volunteer projects and how rewarding they were. Many included feeding the homeless, assisting with women’s and children’s programs, and working at animal shelters. She was a selfless person and always found ways to give back.
With a love for journalism, she made sure to reserve time to offer her services as a mentor in education, to students and inspiring journalists. It was important to her to include articles and stories in the paper that reflected some of the students that she mentored as well as other local students and schools. I was a mentee also.
Despite her busy schedule, I valued that she was readily available and approachable. It didn’t matter whether it was a business-related issue or a personal matter, she was there to assist.
During our many conversations, I learned of Ruth’s many passions and hobbies; like her love for books, traveling and food.
She was an avid reader and collected many books. I sometimes thought Half Price Books was her second home! A great benefit of being an editor was that she had access to various books sent by authors and publishers in hopes of a review. If I wanted a suggestion for a good read, Ruth was my definite go-to.
As time allowed her, she would travel and go on cruises. Her face would light up as she spoke of her travels abroad. She shared the pictures of her adventures and explorations and she was meticulous about saving each picture and assigning them to an album for each venture, as those were her treasures.
In time, I found that we had a commonality in food! As fellow foodies, we would engage in recipes and local favorite restaurants. In Ruth’s association, we had the luxury of sampling food from many new restaurants, organizations and caterers. It was comical how we would try and hold back from tasting until we had the perfect shot to post on social media. To this day, I still take pictures of my food before eating whether I post or not.
In writing about Ruth at this moment triggers many memories. I can go on and on telling about the many ongoings we shared at the office. There is so much more that I haven’t said about her that deserves to be known. She has been recognized for many accomplishments, awards and accolades as an editor as well. But what comes first to me is the warmth of her spirit as it has touched me and will continue to do so.
Something that I wanted to mention about Ruth is that she was a spiritual person. In reading this, if there is just one thing you could take away from what I wrote, I hope it would be that she always put God first in her life. She was thankful every day for her many blessings and she let that be known. Ruth always had a Bible verse ready to accompany any subject if need be. I looked to her words of encouragement on many occasions and she seemed to always say just what I needed to hear. She tried to always stay positive and motivate others as it was evident within her social media postings in which she regularly used the hashtag, #choosejoy.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I was unsure of what or how to say what I felt. I just started writing. I am unsure as to how I should end this also.
Ruth, I know you will be dearly missed as you have greatly impacted many people.
So, what I will say for now is THANK YOU RUTH. Thank you for being my friend, coworker, advisor, and mentor. Your friendship and knowledge will be permanently embedded in my soul. I love you much, my friend.
Be it that your birthday is a couple of days away, I also want to say “Happy Heavenly Birthday to you!”
I want to conclude my memoir of my dear friend, Ruth Ferguson, by sharing with you a post from her Instagram account she posted on January 16, 2020.
“No matter what we are facing, giving thanks is always the answer. Remain #grateful because a #positivemindset makes a difference- not saying it is always easy to #choosejoy but we must try.” #gratitude #psalms #loveendures #repost #womenofchrist