A. Carter and Ruth C. Fergusson die 9 days apart: a 70-year love story

A. Carter and Ruth C. Fergusson in 2011 with their first great-grandchild, Jack Carter Wagoner.

They met at the Riverton Country Club in Cinnaminson on Sept. 13, 1947. It was clear from the start that A. Carter Fergusson, 23,  and Ruth Coe, 20, known as “Dudy,” were meant for each other.

Camera icon Courtesy of the family
A. Carter and Ruth C. Fergusson

They married in 1949. The marriage was nurtured by the hour they spent alone each day, just talking.

“His greatest love was his wife, Dudy,” said their daughter, Sally Morsbach. “Dudy was completely devoted to Carter.”

Last month, they died nine days apart at Beaumont at Bryn Mawr — he on Saturday, July 22, at age 93 from cardiomyopathy, and she on Monday, July 31, at 90 from an infection. Each was aware of the other’s decline. Theirs was a 70-year love story.

“Many people are contacting us saying, ‘You couldn’t say one name without mentioning the other,’” their daughter said. “Even though it’s a hard loss, it’s a very fitting tribute to them.”

Camera icon Courtesy of the family
A. Carter and Ruth C. Fergusson in 2011 with their first great-grandchild, Jack Carter Wagoner.

Born in Edgewater Park, Mr. Fergusson was the son of Alexander C. and Mabel Carter Fergusson. He graduated from the Haverford School in 1942. While there, he was introduced to squash, and went on to earn 10 varsity letters in a variety of sports. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame as an individual athlete in 2009.

Mr. Fergusson was a 1945 graduate of Yale University, where he majored in mathematics. He received eight varsity letters. As captain of the varsity squash team, he led the team to two national championships. He was inducted into the College Squash Association Hall of Fame in 1994.

Called the Cal Ripken of squash by fans, Mr. Fergusson played in 62 consecutive National Hardball Singles Tournaments. From 1948 through 2009, he participated either on the team, in the open, or in a masters draw at the Nationals. He ended the streak in 2009 at age 88, according to his obituary on www.ussquash.com.

In October 2014, U.S. Squash recognized his prowess in the sport by renaming an important award in his honor. The A. Carter Fergusson Grand Master Honor Roll “will, in perpetuity, recognize his tremendous legacy,” the website announced.

From 1946 to his retirement in 1990,  Mr. Fergusson was a president of Alex C. Fergusson LLC, a Philadelphia manufacturer of industrial chemicals.

He joined the Merion Cricket Club in 1947, and served as president from 1976 to 1979.

He was a member of the Jesters racket sports club for 64 years, and served as president from 1967 to 1970. He was awarded the Jesters Cup in 1972, the highest award bestowed on a member. Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, he was a 69-year member of the St. Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia.

He gave money to ensure the completion in 2007 of a monument along the Delaware River waterfront to commemorate the contribution of Scots to the building of America.

In 1980, Mr. Fergusson joined the governing board of the Friends of Independence National Historical Park. He was chairman from 1991 through 1992.

Mr. Fergusson had a sharp memory for names, dates, and places, according to his daughter.

“If you told him where you were from,” he could tell you the fine details of that place, she said. “It was awesome.”

Camera icon Courtesy of the family
A. Carter and Ruth C. Fergusson in 2014.

Mrs. Fergusson was born to Howard S. and Ruth Huston Coe. She graduated from George School in 1945. After attending what is now the University of the Arts, she returned to George School from 1947 to 1949 as an assistant in the fine arts department.

Mrs. Fergusson was a member of the Junior League of Philadelphia from 1951 until 2008. She was a 22-year member of the Acorn Club of Philadelphia.

Mrs. Fergusson was creative, and expressed that talent in home decorating and flower arranging, and in the way she liked to weave colorful descriptions into lively stories.

The Fergussons were longtime supporters of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. They joined the Associates Program in 1984 and made gifts to bolster exhibitions, educational programs, and special initiatives.

Camera icon Courtesy of the family
A. Carter and Ruth C. Fergusson in center surrounded by daughters Margie Foraker (left), Sally Morsbach, and Laurie Plumb (right).

“As parents, they modeled caring, romantic love, witty and compassionate communication, and values which they exemplified by their actions,” their daughter said.

Besides their daughter, the Fergussons are survived by daughters Margie Foraker and Laurie Plumb; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

A celebration of their lives will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Ave., Bryn Mawr. Interment will be private.

Donations may be made to the Haverford School, 450 Lancaster Ave., Haverford, Pa. 19041; Yale University, New Haven, Conn. 06520; George School, c/o the Advancement Office, 1690 Newtown Langhorne Rd., Newtown, Pa. 18940; or the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118 N. Broad St., Philadelphia 19102.