Sarah E. Ferguson, 65, of Essex Junction, passed away on Sunday, January 31, 2021 of Alzheimer’s disease at the UVM Medical Center.
Sarah’s life was, quite simply, a gift she shared with everyone she met and every life she touched.
Sarah was born on Sunday, February 20, 1955, at 1:28 am, at the Rutland Hospital in Rutland, Vermont, to Charlotte and Andy Ferguson. She was 8 1/4 pounds and 19 inches of pure perfection. She was the third of what would be five children.
Sarah moved with her family to Waban (Newton), Massachusetts in 1958. In 1962 she went to live at the Fernald School, in Waltham, and moved back home in 1972. As an adult she worked at Goodwill Industries in Boston, and the Charles River Sheltered Workshop in Newton. In 1989 Sarah moved with her mother and sister to Essex Junction, Vermont and began attending Champlain Vocational Services in Colchester where she worked for 9 years. In 1998 Sarah became a client of Howard Services and through Howard she worked for North Country Federal Credit Union for 10 years. This was one of the highlights of her life. She loved being productive, meeting new people and friends and cherished her time there. In later years, she attended the UVM Adult Day Program, and loved going there and the people she worked with.
Sarah was a teacher, a student, an inspiration, a joy to be around, and a role model on how to live a life of kindness, fairness, compassion, and love. She was also wickedly funny, determined, generous, thoughtful, bright, stubborn, very clever, and sneaky when absolutely necessary. When she smiled, she lit up the room. Sarah was going to do it her way, and she did right up to the end. A family friend observed, “Oh sweet Sarah, such a happy soul, full of smiles and hugs for everyone she came in contact with.”
Sarah loved many things but nothing quite as much as staying in the hospital and she would do almost anything to be admitted. She adopted this obsession at an early age from watching many of the medical television shows on in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but her favorite was Dr. Joe Gannon from Medical Center. She had his poster on her wall. One day after getting off the bus home from work she fell on the grass and pretended to be unconscious. An ambulance was called and when Sarah arrived at Newton Wellesley Hospital she was very surprised and disappointed that Dr. Gannon was not there to greet her! She tried the same thing the next day. Thus began her 40 plus year mission to be admitted to the hospital.
Sarah loved to travel whether it be a “staycation’ weekend at a local hotel with sister Toddy, weeks with Toddy at the cottage they rented on Lake Winnipesaukee, weekend trips to Boston to visit friends, day drives around Vermont, trips to Disneyland, or flying to California with her mom, Toddy and Tom to see youngest brother Doug. She was always ready to go and up for anything.
Sarah was a Special Olympics Gold Medal Bowler, she enjoyed music and dancing, and loved to draw and paint. She loved Little House on the Prairie, Michael Landon, anything pink and mashed potatoes. But what really lit up her life was spending time with her nieces and nephew, Kate, Meg and Adam. It was a mutual adoration relationship that started from the first time she held them as babies up to the day she died.
Sarah spent at least part of just about every day at the law office of Norman C. Smith in Essex Junction where her sister has worked for the past 27 years. One friend who knew Sarah through the office said “It was always so wonderful seeing her and her smile when I would stop by the office. Sarah brought much joy to that place and she will be missed by many.” Another said “In her own unique way, she helped make the office complete! And we will really miss her!” And we do.
Sarah leaves her sister Toddy of Essex Junction, Vermont, brother, Randy and his wife Kathy, of Bucksport, Maine, and their children, Kate, of Taos, New Mexico, Meg of East Fairfield, Vermont, and Adam of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Sarah was predeceased by her mother, Charlotte Ferguson, her brother, Tom, her brother, Doug, and her father O. Andrews Ferguson.
We would like to thank Dr. Degirmenci and Dr. Jandal, and all the RN’s and LNA’s on Baird 3 for the wonderful and compassionate care they gave Sarah during her hospital stay. Thanks also to Alison Hall and the staff at the UVM Medical Center Essex for their years of care and patience over the past 31 years. We would also like to thank Allyn (Lynn) Chase-Denton and all the staff who enriched Sarah’s life during her years at the UVM Adult Day Program. And a warm thank you to John and Guy and all the AW Rich family for their loving care. In addition, many thanks to Jess Poquette and Anne Vernon from Howard Center for their love and support over the years. Our thanks also to Sarah Whitcomb, Norman Smith and Barbara Ortloff for their friendship, love and support.
And lastly, Sarah and Toddy were fortunate to live in a neighborhood of wonderful caring people who helped care for Sarah over the years and without whom it would have been almost impossible to keep her at home, and to all of you we say simply “Thank You.”
In lieu of flowers, the family would like to invite anyone who wishes to make a donation in Sarah’s name to Howard Center for Developmental Services, 102 S. Winooski Ave., Burlington, VT 05401, Phone No. (802) 488-6500.
Due to Covid-19, the family is planning a Celebration of Sarah’s life when it is safe to gather and family can travel. There will be a notice in the Burlington Free Press.