Memorable Manitobans: Marion Patterson Ferguson (1911-1993)
Born at Brandon on 29 April 1911, daughter of Mary Richardson (1888-1966) and Alexander Bayne Patterson, she took her early education in Brandon before completing nurse training at the St. Boniface Hospital. She worked as a private nurse from 1926 to 1932. In 1932, she took some postgraduate education at the Brandon Mental Hospital. In 1936, she went to St. Mary’s Hospital in Minnesota where she worked with Charles and Will Mayo. She worked on research for sulpha drugs and developed an interest in neurological disorders.
In 1940, she enlisted as a nursing sister in the Royal Canadian Air Force. She established a hospital at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia for the Fleet Air Arm before getting an overseas posting to England. She worked with Italian Prisoners of War before being moved to a burn and plastic surgery hospital in East Grinstead, England, also known as Buzz-Bomb Alley.
After the Second World War, she returned to Canada and became part of the teaching unit at Brandon General Hospital, and worked in the Children’s Ward during the polio epidemic. She became the Medical Surgical Supervisor at Brandon Mental Hospital and then became an administrator there. She taught psychiatric nursing for eleven years, and helped establish the policy for a two-year training program for registered nurses.
In 1950, she married John Reid “Jock” Ferguson (1907-1986) and they raised four sons and three daughters in Brandon where she was known as the “Mayor of the North Hill”. She was the first woman to be elected President of the Brandon Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (1971).
“Woman heads Legion,” Brandon Sun, 4 December 1971.
“Marion Ferguson,” Brandon Sun, 8 November 1978, page 18.
Obituary [John Reid Ferguson], Brandon Sun, 16 April 1986, page 26.
Grave transcriptions, Brandon Cemetery.
We thank Sandy Jasper for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Angela Graham and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 24 July 2021