Eleanor S. Ferguson, 86, active in cultural arts...

June 30, 2000

Eleanor S. Ferguson, 86, active in cultural arts

Eleanor S. Ferguson, who was active in Catonsville's social and cultural life, died Tuesday of pneumonia at the Charlestown Retirement Community. She was 86.

She was a cataloguer and member of the museum committee of the Catonsville Historical Society. She also had been club historian of the Catonsville Women's Club.

During the 1960s, she served as a member of the Village Forward Plan, which aided in the renovation of downtown Catonsville. She had also been treasurer of the Village Swap Shop and a member of the Police Community Relations Board. She was a longtime parishioner of Catonsville Presbyterian Church.

The former Eleanor Sanner was born and reared on Ellerslie Avenue. She graduated from Western High School, where she was awarded the Peabody Medal for academic excellence. She earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1934 from Goucher College.

She worked for two years as a chemist for a Baltimore canning company before marrying Harry F. Ferguson Jr., an Exxon chemical engineer, in 1936. He died in 1978.

Services for Mrs. Ferguson will be held at 1 p.m. today in the Charlestown Community Chapel, 709 Maiden Choice Lane, Catonsville.

She is survived by two sons, Harry F. Ferguson III of Fairfax, Va., and Robert A. Ferguson of New York City; a daughter, Eleanor F. Davis of Ayer, Mass.; a brother, David Sanner of Houston; a sister, Katherine Gemmil of Chatham, N.J.; and three grandchildren.

J. Gilbert Ward, 76, retired salesman

J. Gilbert Ward, a retired salesman for the old Michie Co., a legal publishing business, died Tuesday of pneumonia at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He was 76.

He worked for Michie, which has its headquarters in Charlottesville, Va., and is now known as Lexis Law Publishing, from 1968 until retiring in 1991.

Earlier, the resident of White Hall, Harford County, worked in New York, where he was assistant national sales manager for the Playtex Corp.

Born and raised in East Baltimore, Mr. Ward, who was known as Gil, was a 1943 graduate of Baltimore City College, where he was a member of the swim team and was mid-Atlantic butterfly champion.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and served in Europe until being discharged at Bainbridge Naval Station in 1945. After the war, he studied at the Baltimore Institute School of Court Reporting until joining the Coca-Cola sales training school in Atlanta.

A member of the American Kennel Club, he bred and showed collies, poodles and St. Bernards.

An avid flower gardener, he enjoyed reading, traveling and listening to swing music.

He was a member of the Parkville American Legion, the Arnamar Club and the Stardusters, both social clubs.

In 1944, he married Eva Elizabeth Sipe, who died in 1980. In 1984, he married Joy Burkheimer, who survives him.

Services for Mr. Ward will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Ruck Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Robert J. Ward of Pasadena and Carl "Chuck" R. Ward of Ocean City; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; two stepsons, Frank Mercaldo of Bowie and C. Robert Mercaldo Jr. of Lutherville; a stepdaughter, Melanie M. Berndt of Monkton; and three step-grandchildren.

Sister Mary V. Prosser, 98, typist, educator

Sister Mary Veronica Prosser, S.S.N.D., an educator and retired treasurer of the Notre Dame Preparatory School, died Tuesday of heart failure at the Maria Health Center at Villa Assumpta, the order's motherhouse in the Woodbrook section of Baltimore County. She was 98.

She was born Mary Prosser and raised across the street from St. Michael the Archangel at Lombard and Wolfe streets in East Baltimore. From early in life, it was her desire to enter a religious order.

She followed her brother, John, who became a Redemptorist priest, and her sister Ann, who became Sister Mary Robertine, S.S.N.D.

After attending St. Michael Parochial School and St. Michael Business School, she was a typist for several years at Pompeian Olive Oil Co. before entering the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1918. She professed her vows in 1922 and graduated from the Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore.

She studied at Catholic University and Boston College, and earned her bachelor's degree from the College of Notre Dame in 1949.

She began teaching seventh and eighth grades in the early 1920s, and was assigned to parochial schools in New York City, Providence, R.I., Washington and Pennsylvania.

Locally, she taught at St. Ambrose and St. James the Less parochial schools. She also was on the faculty of St. Margaret Parochial School in Bel Air. In 1959, she was named treasurer of Notre Dame Preparatory School, a position she held until 1981. She was treasurer of the school's religious community until retiring last year, when she moved to Villa Assumpta.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at Villa Assumpta, 6401 N. Charles St. She is survived by nephews and nieces.

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