A funeral service will be held at 3 p.m., Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at Limestone United Methodist Church Cemetery with the Reverend Don Studebaker officiating. The family will receive the friends one hour before the service in the sanctuary of the church. CDC guidelines for the COVID-19 virus and social distancing will be observed during service. All participants will be required to wear a mask.
Survivors include her house husband; son, Gary Ferguson, Jr. (Patricia); daughter, Heather H. Ferguson; granddaughter, Sara Van Driel (Marinus); great-granddaughter, Evy Van Driel; brother, Ted Hadden (Robin); and special friend, Tisa Lewis. She was predeceased by her son, Floyd Gabriel Ferguson.
Etta was a beloved wife, a loving daughter and sister, and a wonderful mother of three very accomplished children. She was always caring and sharing, spending many hours volunteering and helping others with countless activities and projects. Etta and Donny married in 1984 and thus began a partnership of over 37 years that has greatly blessed them both.
After graduating from Spartanburg High School in 1955, she started her family and then began a long career with the Southern Bell and BellSouth telephone companies, continuing when her husband Gary and their family moved to Orangeburg in 1968. Starting out in carrier services, where she connected local networks and long distance calls via a switchboard, she then became a cable record assignment clerk, adding and updating subscriber installation records on paper. . As telephone companies moved to computerized record keeping, she became a facilities dispatch specialist, from which she retired in 1991. She served as a member of the Communications Workers of America, representing her colleagues as a shop steward, then elected vice-president and eventually president of Local 3719. She has attended many national conventions and helped create fair contracts for the workers she represented. Etta has also spent many hours volunteering her time and talents to the Telephone Pioneers.
Etta brought her aging parents to Orangeburg and faithfully cared for them until their passing. Never inactive, Etta began cleaning the houses of some of her friends. She managed to grow her business and founded Donnetta Company Cleaning Services, adding commercial and professional offices to her list of clientele.
During this time, Etta had many other interests. She served her Lord as a longtime lay leader of Limestone United Methodist Church, attending many South Carolina annual conferences as a delegate. She also had a special talent for helping people as a hospice volunteer: first for Pruitt Health, then for Grove Park Hospice; to be a friendly face and voice to some lovely people moving from this life to the next.
Etta was a member of the Azalea Garden Club, serving several terms as club president. One of her proudest moments was seeing her floral arrangement judged “Best of Show” at the 2007 Orangeburg County Fair.
Etta has also benefited her community by working with and serving on the board of two outstanding organizations: Edisto Habitat for Humanity and Healing Species.
Although she was slowed down by age and Parkinson’s disease, she was truly an example of a woman who strived for excellence, consistently overcame all obstacles in her path and became a living embodiment of the “Proverbs 31 woman”. The world has been greatly enriched by his presence, and we thank God for sharing his life with us.
Memoirs can be sent to Limestone United Methodist Church c/o Mary Agnes French, 1013 Deer Crossing Road, Orangeburg, SC 29118, Healing Species at www.healingspecies.org, or to a charity of their choice.
Ultimately, Etta was a carer and cherished all things two-legged and four-legged. In this, she taught us a lot. It was her beloved husband Donny who embodied her caring spirit, especially in recent years. Etta’s children are overwhelmed with gratitude for Donny’s love and commitment to their mother. We all express deep gratitude to Betty Dyches and the caregivers at Amedisys Hospice for taking such good care of Etta in the last days of her life on this earth.
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Posted by Dukes-Harley Funeral Home and Crematory – Orangeburg on January 17, 2022.