Jane and Earl Ferguson moved to SunBird on New Year’s Day 1992 after two months of exploring other retirement areas from California to Casa Grande, where a resident suggested SunBird. The couple liked what they saw and still do. They switched to full time residents in 2003. “Visitors will say, ‘Do you know those people who waved?’ I tell them no, but that is the way it is here.”
“We were Oregon high school sweethearts,” remarked Earl, who swears all the girls chased him because he was an athlete. After 62 years of marriage, the flame still burns brightly.
Earl has a BS and MA in education from Oregon University and a Doctor of Education from Oregon State. He had been a coach, teacher, principal, superintendent and on a college staff.
In 1955 he began three years in the USAF as a lieutenant, later a captain. He was a pilot trainee at Marana, AZ. Then there were two years in personnel in the Philippines where a son was born.
Jane had two sisters in a family. She earned a BS degree at Oregon State University and additional graduate work at Southern Oregon State University. After marriage she was a housewife and mother, secretary and elementary school teacher. Besides their son, there is a daughter.
The Fergusons are grandparents to eight and great grandparents to 19 – so far. One grandson is a USAF tanker pilot.
Earl, the middle of seven boys, moved with family from Oklahoma to California during WW II. “That was a major lifetime change for us. In Oklahoma one could earn only a dollar a day, but in California it could be $10 to $15. I used to shine shoes when in the fifth grade and make $10.00 a day,” recalled Earl.
While superintendent, he was vice president and president of The American Association of School Administrators. This provided opportunities to travel to 30 states and 10 countries. Since retirement they have done over 30 cruises. In December 2014 they left for Hawaii to be with their daughter.
Through their travels they met many notable people. There are pictures with Tip O’Neill, Jimmy Carter and President George Bush. “I once met the actress Rita Moreno,” said Jane, “who discovered I was from Oregon. She asked if I had pine cones, so I sent her a box and she wrote me a thank you note.”
While in England Jane tried their coffee and found it too strong. She substituted tea thereafter, but, “It was worse.” she thought.
She has traded golf for Tai Chi. Earl likes golf and both enjoy travel. Earl has served on committees for the Homeowners’ Board; also the original golf course committee.
For 26 weeks on Friday, they gather with neighbors for dinner. Earl says, “We tell lies and stories, eat and laugh a lot. They say laughing is good for your health.”
Yes, Earl, laughing may be so, but anyone knowing you and Jane will say, “The Fergusons are good for SunBird;” and rightly said.