Missing Winnie


It seems fitting that the title is A Life’s Work. Now that both of my children are in High School, contemplating what THEIR future will be, I find myself wondering what my impact on this world will be.  Certainly, like all mothers out there, I hope that my children are happy, healthy and kind, and contribute to society.  And I imagine that that is part of my contribution.  But I sometimes wonder, what legacy will I have left, after I am gone?

Winnie at Easel (from her website)

I bring that up because after returning home from our family vacation, we learned that our dear friend and teacher, Winnie Ferguson had passed away from complications due to lung cancer.  If you didn’t know Winnie, you missed out.  She was a truly accomplished artist and a phenomenal and patient art teacher, as well.  With a doctorate in art education, she taught high school and later was a university professor of art education and art therapy.  What she loved most, though, was painting.  Painting in oil and acrylics, and sharing that love of art with everyone around her.


She loved the way light played on a canvas and was particularly found of painting landscapes, nature and gardens.  What she could do with a paintbrush!  Her greatest joy was bringing that joy of art to people – whether it was teaching students in her private studio (my daughter was one of her students) to teaching classes at the Cary Senior Center (where my mother took a class.)

Plen aire palette knife painting

What Cary will miss most, though, is her commitment to this great community that we all call home.  Winnie was one of the founders of the Cary Gallery of Artists, and you may have seen her work around town.  (The gallery is located in Ashworth Village – and she has had many of her paintings displayed.)

Our family will miss her even more. She was instrumental in creating a “love of painting” for my daughter, supported me in my quest to be a public servant, and was always there with the presence to listen, the soul of an artist, the heart of a proud and strong advocate, and the will and fortitude of a community warrior.  She never took “no” for an answer – and said to me once… “Life is like a painting, if you don’t like what you have, just paint over it and begin again.”

Her legacy will live on in all that she has touched – and we will never forget the impact that she has made.

Our hearts and prayers go out to her family through this tough time, and know that our community is saddened by her loss as well.  Her “life’s work” will keep her memory alive in all of the people that she has touched in Cary.

Winnie, you will be greatly missed.

UPDATE (6/27/12) : Winnie’s obit is posted in the N&O today.

Her memorial service is on Sunday, July 1st, 3pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh (www.uufr.org)

In honor of Winnie’s love of color and texture, she requested that those attending her memorial service wear bright colors.

(Pictures from Winnie’s Website)
Featured picture is a small painting she made for me during “Lazy Daze”, trying to teach me how to paint. 🙂