Marjory Ann Ferguson was born in Balranald in December 1928 and lived an extraordinary life to the age of 94.
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Marj was four years of age when her Scottish immigrant parents settled in Rochester with her three siblings, sister Eileen and brothers Roderick and Duncan (Jock) Ferguson.
She attended the Rochester Primary School and the Rochester Elementary School to Form 4, and started her working life at the age of 16 at Parsons, the local department store. Little did she know then that this connection would carry on into her adult life.
Even at this young age she took her first of many volunteering roles, helping with the Rochester Boy Scouts Cub Pack and as cub leader “Akela” some 25 years later.
Marj was recognised for her dedication by being awarded a medal by the Governor of Victoria for Services to Scouting.
Marj met her husband Ron Sharp when he came up to Rochester to work at his aunty’s shop, Sharp’s Bakery, which was located on the corner of Bridge Rd and Church St, just over the Campaspe River bridge.
Ron and Marjory married in February 1950 when Marj was 21 and they commenced their family nine months later almost to the day, when their eldest Geoff was born.
Then came Elizabeth, Judy, Janet, Kerrie, Carolyn and Andrew.
During this time of upbringing seven children, Marj returned to Parsons, progressing to be a buyer in the fashion department.
Marj did a business course at night school which allowed her to advance to working in the office, finally ending her association at Parsons after a period which exceeded 25 years.
Marj always enjoyed learning. Leaving school so early was very much against her will, as she would have loved to have continued her education. Unfortunately Rochester Elementary only went to Form 4.
During her long association with the Scout Movement, she took every opportunity to attend training courses and seminars to increase her confidence and leadership skills.
Not having the opportunity to further her education was something she regretted and spent her whole life encouraging young people, and in particular young women, from her community to learn, to travel and to be educated to their highest level.
Marj, was one of the early members of the Business and Professional Women’s Club in Rochester, which was a club that encouraged women to reach their full potential.
Taking every opportunity to attend workshops and seminars on such topics as meeting procedures, public speaking, media relations and writing up minutes.
Marj often remarked that this special time provided her with the skills and confidence in joining the many local clubs, committees, her volunteering work and raising funds for charity in which she was renowned for.
- Elder of the Rochester Presbyterian Church;
- Member of the Fellowship Association and singing in the church choir;
- Long association with the Rochester Memorial Hospital;
- Comparing and organising the annual fashion parade and the Melbourne Cup Day Hat Parade, calling bingo for the hospital for many years;
- Organising the important Meals on Wheels roster service for decades;
- Founding member of the Rochester Probus Club in November 1997;
- Founding member of the Infant Welfare Centre, (now the pre-school);
- Founding member of the Rochester Presbyterian Tennis Club;
- Represented Rochester for 10 years on the local Council Advisory Group;
- Staunch supporter of the Rochester Football and Netball Club;
Marjory Sharp received two special awards in her life that she was very proud of:
- The Governor’s Medal for Services to Scouting; and
- The Rochester 2017 Australia Day Citizen of the Year.
Marj was only 51 when unexpectedly husband Ron died in 1980. They had been married 30 years and still had three young children at home to raise: Kerrie, Carolyn and Andrew.
She was so grateful for the love and support of her friends and the community of Rochester as she continued on with her life, raising her family without her husband Ron.
Her family has now grown to include 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, all of whom she adored, guided, supported, encouraged and loved.
Marj’s love and support for her family was extraordinary in every way.
What was more extraordinary was the way in which she extended this love and support throughout her community.
Marj spoke frequently of what a wonderful community existed in Rochy.
Like so many members of the community Marj was displaced from her home during last year’s floods.
It was devastating for her and ultimately she couldn’t survive that displacement.
But what was more devastating was that she couldn’t be here to share the community’s pain. To be here to provide the community with her love and support as she had done all of her life.
She was proud of her family and immensely proud of her community. She was generous in her loyalty, she was generous with her tolerance, she was generous with her time, she was generous with her encouragement, and above all she was generous with her love.
That has been her legacy.
Her commitment to her family and her commitment to her community and yours to her.
This is an edited extract of the eulogy delivered by Andrew at her funeral at the Rochester Shire Hall.