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Publication: Globe and Mail, The
Issue: 18 November 2011, page R10
Title: FERGUSON, Dr. Edra Isles Sanders (Death Notice)
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FERGUSON, Dr. Edra Isles Sanders
After an overflowing life, she passed away in her 105th year on November 15, 2011. Born in St. Thomas, Ontario, oldest child of Edgar Charles Sanders, Q. C. and Jane Katherine Sanders, she attended Alma College and graduated from Osgoode Hall in 1930. She was awarded her LL.B. by York University and was privileged to receive an honorary LL.D. from the University of Western Ontario. In 2002 she received the Queen's Jubilee Medal for her long service to her communities. In 2011 she received the Order of Canada for her contributions in the fields of law and women's rights. She was the oldest person ever to receive the Order of Canada. She was a whirlwind of enthusiasm who pursued public service and private charity throughout her life. She was a daughter, sister, mother, wife, aunt, lawyer, judge, friend, traveler and inveterate hostess and communicator. Among her many roles, she was proud to be the first woman alderman in St. Thomas, to initiate a Red Cross Clinic in Guelph, and to be appointed the first Division Court judge in Ontario. The court was later re-named the Small Claims Court. Many lawyers in Toronto appeared before her in their early years and remember her fondly as 'Ma Ferguson'; for her part, she was proud to be in a position to offer 'equal justice to the little people'. Since 'retiring' more than 30 years ago, she maintained the same energetic pace in a different forum. She was predeceased by her husbands, Donald Harvey Ferguson and Peter Reginald Christopherson and her three brothers, Richard Abbott Sanders, Q. C., Edgar Frank Stanley Sanders, Q. C., and Andrew Lawrence Sanders. She is survived by her children, Sheila Janemar Cline (Bill), of Rice Lake and The Hon. Dan Ferguson (Anne) of Peterborough, her grandchildren, Dr. Christie Freeman (Rob) of Peterborough and Amy Carter (Neil) of Toronto, her great grandchildren, Jack , Ben and Olivia, and her many nieces and nephews who, from California to Ontario, treated her as a very special aunt. A memorial service will be held at the SHERRIN FUNERAL HOME, CREMATION AND TRIBUTE CENTRE, 873 Kingston Road (west of Victoria Park), Toronto 416-698-2861, on Saturday November 19 at 3 p.m. Her family wishes to express their great gratitude to her devoted friends, Maria Lontok and Annie Chu, and to the staff of Belmont House which was her home for over three decades. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: 'The Edra Ferguson Graduate Scholarship', University of Victoria - Faculty of Law, P.O. Box 2400, STN CSC, Victoria, B. C. V8W 3H7.