In Memoriam: Majorie Ruth Ferguson, 1929-99

Rowland Lorimer (School of Communication, Simon Fraser University)

Marjorie Ferguson died on October 4 in San Francisco at the home of her daughter, Laura Perricone. She will be sorely missed.

Marjorie was born in Victoria in 1929, the first child of Ruth and John McDonald, a coal miner and labour supporter. Marjorie was the first of the family to attend university and, before graduating, moved to London in 1949. In 1956 after having two daughters, Caryl and Laura, Marjorie set out on a journalism career by joining the staff of Family Circle. In the early 1960s she became fashion editor and then deputy editor of Woman, then the largest circulation women's magazine in the commonwealth.

In the late 1960s she returned to university to complete her undergraduate work and her PhD at LSE on the influence of women's media, published as Forever Feminine: Women's Magazines and the Cult of Femininity. She took up a lectureship at LSE where she remained until 1988 at which time she was appointed Associate Professor at the University of Maryland. At Maryland, she was active in both Communications and Canadian Studies.

Marjorie was a visiting professor at Simon Fraser University and was interviewed for the chair of the School of Communication. She contributed a number of articles to the Canadian Journal of Communication. In 1994, she was honoured with an invitation to give the Southam lecture at the annual meeting of the Canadian Communication Association. Most recently, after organizing two sessions for the International Communication Association meetings in Montreal, she co-edited with me a special issue of the CJC dealing with McLuhan and Canadian communications scholarship. She brought a number of notable and rising academics to this special issue.

Speaking personally, I enjoyed working with Marjorie wholeheartedly. She was fresh, enthusiastic, and open. And I had no idea that she was any older than I. She was also inspiring and many are richer for having crossed paths with her. I know I am.