Saturday, October 9, 2010

Chapter Remembers A Truly Great and Selfless Omega Man: Brother Phillip Ferguson

It may not seem readily apparent to members of the public, but the life of a true Omega man is always guided by the Four Cardinal Principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift.  It is often in the death of a great Omega man that those in the Fraternity are reminded of the wisdom and nobility of those Cardinal Principles while people outside the Fraternity get a true picture of what Omega Psi Phi is all about.  That was evident this week for the Brothers of Gamma Pi, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and our extended family of friends and community members who joined us in paying tribute to Brother Phillip R. Ferguson in the wake of his October 1 passing.

Brother Ferguson (left) greets golfers
When he passed on to Omega chapter after a lengthy illness, Brother Ferguson had spent more than 50 years as a member of Omega Psi Phi.  He had tirelessly served the Fraternity at the District and local levels, and had a quiet, but vast influence throughout Omega Psi Phi that spanned beyond the Second District into other parts of the country. Those connections linked to his activities within his own family, within his church, in support of his neighbors, in providing assistance to forgotten seniors, in helping nameless and faceless less fortunate citizens and in advising and guiding local youth.

True to Omega's spirit, he knew how to have a good time and make life interesting for those around him. But by the same token, he was always ready to answer the call of service to the Fraternity and the community. His service and responsiveness helped Gamma Pi earn the label, "The Super Chapter."  He is a past Basileus of Gamma Pi. For people who want to know "What do the Ques do?", they can simply read Brother Ferguson's life story for the answer. Second District Representative Brother Kenneth Rodgers called him "truly a staple in the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity ... He is a legend."

Here is a short video snippet of Brother Ferguson on 50 years in Omega. This was recorded in 2009 by the Gamma Pi public relations team:

It was a trying, yet triumphant week as Gamma Pi, Omega Psi Phi and the Prince George's County and State of Maryland community laughed and cried together in remembering Brother Ferguson. Many of the exploits that Fraternity members and community members learned of this week during Brother Ferguson's Omega service (October 7) and his funeral (October 8) had not been shared before. For instance, there were stories of how Brother Ferguson packed his personal vehicle and drove church youth's luggage to Ocean City for retreats at his expense. Brothers heard about how on many occasions -- out of public view and public earshot -- he paid out of his pocket to send church members and young people to various camps and out-of-town meetings so they could enhance their knowledge.  He wrote letters and made calls for Brothers and others. He had a skill for bringing the right people together behind the scenes to make something positive happen for the greater good. He facilitated Uplift.

Perhaps the funniest story about Brother Ferguson came from a fellow chuch member who recounted how she called him at home one Sunday afternoon for expert advice on desktop publishing, only to be told, gently: "Sister, don't you know the (Redskins) football game is on?"

Omega Brothers prepare for Ferguson Omega Service 
More than 100 Omega Psi Phi members from the area participated in Brother Ferguson's Omega Service and even more people attended the funeral the next day. Several top local elected leaders -- including some who happen to be members of Omega Psi Phi and Gamma Pi -- spoke about him at the funeral service. The State Legislature sent a proclamation in his honor.

Brother Ferguson was a career military man who retired as a high-ranking officer. He also served his country as a Public Affairs professional in the federal government after retirement from the military. He was a trained musician and sang in various Fraternity chorales. He leaves a wife and three children, grandchildren and a chapter and Fraternity full of Brothers who will miss him, but will go on, as he would want, employing the life lessons he taught and walking in the imprint of his big shoes, literally and figuratively. 

Brother Phillip Ferguson is proof -- living proof, even in death -- that Omega men are about something positive, something much larger than ourselves, and it starts and ends with our unique and strong Brotherhood that can never be replicated by any other organization anywhere else. Only Omega. Only "Brother Phil" Ferguson. 

The photo above from this week's Omega Service was provided by Brother Eddie Epps of Gamma Pi chapter.

Brother Ferguson (far right) sings in a Fraternity chorale

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