Joan Ferguson Coleman passed away on Feb. 27 at the home of her daughter, Shelli Ferguson, where she was lovingly cared for the last month of her life after suffering devastating injuries from a fall. She was 90 years old.

Joan was born in her grandparent’s home in Carlyle, Illinois, on Dec. 3, 1929, at the beginning of the Great Depression. She was the daughter of the late Rhoda Opal Webster and George Lewis Higgins. Grandparents were John Logan and Dora Christy Higgins, and Julia Webster Glenn and her husband Charles. Joan was also preceded in death by her beloved brother, John Louis Higgins.

Joan’s family was very poor, and she did not have running water or a flush toilet until she was 12 years old. She graduated from Decatur Illinois High School in 1947, and at 17 married Jack N. Ferguson. They had three children: John Michael Ferguson, Shelli Ferguson and Lizabeth Ferguson Tarin.

The family relocated to El Paso in 1957 where Joan was a homemaker and Jack practiced law. They divorced after 21 years of marriage, and Joan began the journey into the next chapter of her life – public relations.

With no college degree and no experience – but with sheer grit and determination – she founded and was the sole operator of her own public relations business, Joan Ferguson Public Relations, running it successfully for 15 years. She worked for the United Way, El Paso Firefighters, Dick Poe, El Paso District Dental Society, Yucca Council BSA, Willie Farah, El Paso Bar Association and many other groups and businesses in El Paso.

In 1978, she married Marion L. Coleman, who was the fire chief of the El Paso Fire Department. They were happily married for 25 years, until his death in 2002.

She was a great lover of books and wrote numerous short stories and several novels.

 Survivors include her children, Mike (Robyn) Ferguson, Shelli Ferguson, and Lizabeth (David) Tarin. Grandchildren are Casey Ferguson, Bethany (Curtis) Tredway, Lindsay (Gil) Mata, John (Mikela) Ferguson, Kristin (Jason) Eubanks, Julie Ferguson, Krystal (Joe) Morales, Erica (Agustin) Villasenor, Allison Davis (Edmund Moore), and Jennifer Robeck. She is also survived by her sister, Franci Higgins, niece Erin Klug (Chris), 25 great grandchildren and her beloved canine, Sassy. Much love and heartfelt gratitude to her loving caregivers, Susana, Suky, Laura and Sukie.

A Celebration of Life was held on March 3 at Sunset Funeral Homes-West, with interment at Memory Gardens of Valley in Santa Teresa. Please visit our online registry at