Marilena Hedrick Ferguson, 83, a resident of Manhattan since 1960, died Friday, June 6, 2014, at her home.
The family provided some of the following information.
They said she died peacefully, surrounded by her family.
Marilena was born on March 20, 1931, in Chickasha, Okla., to the Rev. Robert Gideon Hedrick and Lallah Childress Hedrick. As the daughter of a Methodist minister, she moved frequently during her youth living in Verdon, Earlsboro, Granite, Comanche and Lawton, Okla., as well as Abilene, Texas and El Paso, Texas before the family settled in Muskogee, Okla. She graduated from Muskogee High School in 1949 where, during her senior year, she was Band Queen.
Marilena attended the University of Oklahoma and was a member of Delta Gamma Sorority and graduated in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science in education. Her affiliations with OU and Delta Gamma remained special to her throughout her life and she was quick to tell the story of when, as a greeter at her sorority door, she met a tall and handsome young man. She promptly left her post to sleuth out his identity. He would become her future husband, Clyde Randolph Ferguson.
After graduating, she taught elementary school in Oklahoma City. She and Clyde were married June 11, 1954, in Muskogee, Okla., at St. Paul United Methodist Church. They were joined in marriage by her father.
In 1956, the couple moved, sight unseen, to Durham, N.C., where Clyde entered the M.A./Ph.D history program at Duke University. Marilena worked in the chemistry department at Duke before finding another elementary teaching position where she worked for the next four years. She fondly remembered their time there as a great adventure where she and Clyde began their lifelong love of bird watching and made friendships that lasted a lifetime.
In 1960, Marilena and Clyde moved to Manhattan where Clyde accepted a teaching position at Kansas State University. Together, they created a life rich with family, meaningful friendships, hobbies and pursuits. As Clyde began his career in academia, Lena began raising their three children, Maria, Chamblee and Bob. Marilena held various jobs, from art lady for a program that introduced great works of art in Manhattan public elementary schools, to teller at the First National Bank of Manhattan. However, Marilena’s favorite job was as a mother and homemaker. In 1970, Marilena was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she battled for eight years and beat.
An avid bird watcher, she pursued many other hobbies and interests, including mushroom hunting and traveling throughout the world. A wildcat fan and K-State football and basketball season ticket holder from 1960- 2014, she was also a member of the Gourmet Club, Book Club, Blue Chip Investment Club, and American Association of University Women. None of these brought her as much joy as her family.
An incredible mentor and supporter to her children and grandchildren, she always backed their legitimate activities. From athletic to civic to artistic, she was their greatest fan.
Marilena leaves behind an adoring family, including her husband, Clyde Randolph Ferguson; brother, Robert G. Hedrick, Jr.; daughter, Maria and wife Sheree Goecke and their daughter Alyssa Kinsey Renck; son, Chamblee and wife Lynn Blackburn and their children Mackenzie Ferguson, Alexander Ferguson and Liam Ferguson; and son, Bob and his wife Holly and their children Hannah Haidar, Charlotte Ferguson and Phoebe Ferguson.
Friends may sign the register book at the funeral home on Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Wednesday until the time of the service.
Funeral services will be 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, at Irvin-Parkview Funeral Home in Manhattan. Burial will be in Marlow, Okla., on Thursday, June 12, at 3 p.m.
Memorial donations may be made in Marilena Ferguson’s name to the Northern Flint Hills Audubon Society, to the Konza Prairie Education Program, or to Homecare and Hospice in Manhattan.