A Letter from Jim Ferguson

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*With Fond Remembrances of Bill Dudley*

In 1962 & 1963 Kay Brown and I were in our sophomore and junior years at Fayetteville-Manlius High School and attended Manlius Baptist Church with our families. Those were wonderful years of rich experiences with a youth group that we dearly loved. My family was moved to Florida at the end of my junior year as a result of a relocation of my father’s work with General Electric. Kay Brown (who later married Scott Hammond) and I were an item during those two years. I fondly remember many wonderful experiences with Kay, Bill Burt, John Huffaker, Gail Bock, Ruth Davies and Beverly Greene among others who were very close friends at the church. In fact, I cannot remember any differences or harsh words ever expressed between any of these folks. Bill, this went to your credit and that of your wife as you both gave unselfishly of your time in countless hours and loved us as teenagers during those years.

You were always available to chaperone on event after event during those two years, and you made it fun for everyone. With nostalgia I remember Saturday waterskiing get togethers at the Davidson’s boathouse on Lake Cazenovia, paper drives to raise money, Christmas caroling in the snow to shut-ins of the church, forming a choir and singing for the rescue mission in downtown Syracuse, a camping trip to the Adirondack Mountains and singing with you and Bill Burt with your guitars on many occasions. I am deeply in your debt for the love and care that you gave to me and the rest of us friends who  shared some of the best of our teenage years around you.

Since those days, I have gone on to complete a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, a master’s degree in Church Music from Southwestern Theological Seminary, served as a Minister of Music in Southern Baptist churches in Texas and Florida for over 30 years and for the last 15 years have been a Certified Financial Planner owning my own practice in Clearwater, Florida. Kay completed her bachelor and master degrees from New York State University, became a high school English teacher for many years, and then an English AP teacher and grader and a College Board consultant. Bill Burt and his wife Betsy have been a very dear friends through these many years. Bill has most recently reintroduced Kay and I to each other becoming aware that both of us had lost our spouses to cancer within recent years. We were married on Friday, September 7, 2012 and have just returned from a honeymoon in Italy. You see, the fruit of those days that we knew you and enjoyed something very special has come back to be a blessing in many unexpected ways.

Thank you, Bill, for what you provided for us so many years ago. Neither those experiences or your love for us will ever be forgotten.

Jim & Kay Ferguson

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Jammers

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This is a picture of my 1967 Austin Mini Panel Van, and the band of musicians from our church praise band, that I take out to coffee shops and other places to play folk-rock and oldies music. I call them the Jammers, because you never know who might show up.