Obituary: Adda M. Ferguson / Ben Avon resident, volunteer, actress

Sept. 20, 1923 - Jan. 15, 2014

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Adda M. Ferguson filled a variety of roles during her long life, including some on stage with the Community Theatre Players in Ben Avon.

Mrs. Ferguson, formerly of Ben Avon, died Wednesday at Masonic Village of Sewickley. She was 90.

She had worked as a kindergarten teacher, co-organizer of a preschool, food bank volunteer and unofficial greeter at Community Presbyterian Church of Ben Avon.

"People always said that she didn't try to make a big splash, but she did a lot of stuff," Herb McLuckie of Emsworth said of his longtime friend.

Another friend, Mary Witul of Ben Avon Heights, compared her to the New Testament figure Mary of Bethany. Mary, who was one of the sisters of Lazarus, made Jesus and all her guests feel welcome.

Born in Pittsburgh, Mrs. Ferguson was the daughter of the late John and Martha Parris. She was a graduate of Geneva College.

A longtime member of Community Presbyterian Church, she was one of the organizers of and teachers in the church's preschool program, now known as Wooden Ladder.

She was a founding member of the Community Theatre Players and acted in a number of its productions. Her roles included playing one of the charming, but deadly, Brewster sisters in "Arsenic and Old Lace."

She and her husband, John, were long-time volunteers with the North Boroughs Food Pantry.

She taught kindergarten for 11 years in Pittsburgh's John Morrow School on the North Side.

"She welcomed every new person who came to our church," Claire Wilwohl, a former mayor of Ben Avon, said of Mrs. Ferguson. "She enjoyed meeting new people."

Ms. Witul called Mrs. Ferguson "one of the angels at the church."

"There was never a time when she wasn't uplifting, imparting her faith to others," she said. "Her trademark was that she spoke to everybody. Most people's vision is of her wending her way through the church before the service."

"We always kidded her in a good way about how she welcomed people, going up to talk to them and making them comfortable," Mr. McLuckie said. "We would say, 'I wanna be an Adda.' We all wanted to be like Adda."

Mrs. Ferguson and her husband had been married for 64 years.

In addition to her husband, her survivors include a brother, Samuel C. Parris of Aurora, Ohio; a sister, JoAnn Romig of Beaver Falls; daughters JoEllen Leech of Fox Chapel, and Ann L. Turnbull of Ohio Township; son John H. III of Kilbuck; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at Community Presbyterian Church, 7501 Church Ave. Contributions may be made to the church in lieu of flowers.

McDonald Linn Funeral Home in Avalon is in charge of arrangements.


Len Barcousky: lbarcousky@post-gazette.com or 724-772-0184.


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