Martha B. Ferguson, 87, of Middletown, NJ passed away peacefully on February 26, 2019. She was born in Abington, PA the youngest of three children to the late Pauline and Leroy Bishop.
Martha graduated from Abington High School in 1947 at the age of 16. She then attended the University of Pennsylvania studying pre veterinary medicine. Martha married the love of her life, Joseph Ferguson, in 1951 and together they built a wonderful farm in Blue Bell, PA where they ran a successful show horse and racehorse training and sales business.
Martha was one of the top lady riders in the country in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, riding and winning at all the major east coast horse shows. She was a very stylish rider who brought out the best in every horse she rode. She had an amazing ability to get on horses she had never ridden before and immediately turn them into winners. Martha rode many champions for Junie Kulp’s All Around Farm. She was loved for her sportsmanship and her ready smile and was honored as one of the Living Legends of the National Horse show at Madison Square Garden in 1996.
Although Martha did not consider herself a good teacher she and Joe taught their daughter Sarah to ride at the age of two. They taught her the trademark Ferguson style and picked out the best ponies and horses for her. Together Martha and Sarah enthusiastically took on the “A” horse show circuit for well over a decade. Martha sidelined her own show career to coach Sarah. She stood proudly at the ringside as Sarah collected numerous local and national championships.
Later in life, after Joe’s death, Martha moved to a beautiful farm in Cochranville PA. There she enjoyed the country lifestyle. She spent her days riding and training horses at her friend Vince Dugan’s stable, fox hunted with Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds and spent hours gardening on her farm. She went on exciting horse shopping road trips with her dear friend Yvette Smith and could still be found regularly standing proudly at the ringside coaching Sarah both at home and at horse shows till 2015.
Martha is predeceased by her husband Joseph, her brother James Bishop and her sister Charlotte Klockenthoer. She is survived by her loving daughter Sarah Wood, her son in law John Wood, her grandchildren Kyle and Shannon Wood and her nieces and nephews.
A Memorial service will be held at St. Malachi Church, 76 St. Malachi Rd, Cochranville PA 19330 on Monday May 20, 2019 at 11:00 am.
A luncheon reception will follow at Martha’s farm.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be sent in Martha’s memory to Alzheimer’s New Jersey, 425 Eagle Rock Ave #203, Roseland, NJ 07068.