1928 – 2012
Retired Executive Assistant to the President
Irene C. Fergus, whose wit and wry sense of humor graced the Daemen College President’s Office for many years, passed away December 27, 2012, at the age of 84. Described as an inspiration and role model to many, Irene was able to keep her sense of humor right up to the very end when she died in her Town of Tonawanda home after battling Parkinson’s disease for decades.
The former Irene Corrigan, she re-entered the work world in 1982 after raising three children, finding employment in the Daemen Admissions Office. Her pleasant personality, command of the English language, and organizational skills soon landed her in the role of executive assistant to the College president, a position she held for 20 years, before her retirement.
“Mom was generous, kind and never selfish, always putting the needs of others before her own. She had a zest for life, an ability to see humor in any situation and a sparkle in her eyes that even a debilitating disease like Parkinson’s couldn’t mask. She was cracking jokes to the end,” said Carol J. Fergus, her youngest daughter, who considered her mom her best friend.
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Irene’s passion for correct grammar and the written word started early in life. She was a staff member of the East Side High School student newspaper in Youngstown. Realizing that the cost of a college education put it out of reach for her, Irene pursued a course of study in secretarial skills while in high school.
Upon completion, she let her sense of adventure take her from Middle America to New York City, where she worked in the main library in Manhattan, typing index cards for the card catalog.
Missing her family, she returned home to Youngstown. While working at a drugstore, she met a customer who would become her husband of 62 years, Bernard E. Fergus, then a young World War II Army Air Forces soldier home on leave.
Like his wife to be, Fergus shared a love of the English language and would find work at the Buffalo Courier-Express as an editor. He worked for three decades before the paper closed.
In addition to her husband and daughters Carol and Patricia, Irene is survived by a son, Michael.
1937 – 2013
Major Gifts Officer
A Buffalo native, Mr. Stoddard graduated from St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute and attended West Point, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Virginia School of Banking.
He received a bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo. He also served in the Army Reserve from 1957 to 1969.
Mr. Stoddard worked for M&T Bank for 35 years, retiring in 2004 as a vice president of the Snyder branch.
He was a major gifts officer at Daemen College, primarily responsible for soliciting financial support from alumni, faculty and the general public for the Daemen College Research & Information Commons. He also was a member of the fundraising committee for Daemen’s Business Building.
The college presented him the Associates Community Service Award in 2009.
He was a member of the boards of Evans National Bank and the Town of Amherst Meals on Wheels.
For ten years, he was trustee and past president of the Amherst Museum. He was a trustee of MusicalFare Theatre at Daemen College and the Daemen Associates.
Mr. Stoddard was a past board member of Studio Arena, Erie County Preservation, Niagara Frontier Rehabilitation Center, Buffalo Suicide Prevention and the Amherst Chamber of Commerce.
He sat on the Amherst Sesquicentennial Committee and was a past treasurer of the Harlem/Kensington Business Association Rotary.
Surviving are his wife of 52 years, E. Jane Stoddard (nee Balk); two brothers, Fred and Thomas; and a sister, Noreen Walker.