Foster mom's motto: 'There's always room for one more'

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Jackie Ferguson had a saying: "There's always room for one more."

In her 77 years, the Capitol Hill great-grandmother and foster mom nurtured or took in over 100 children, fed scores of hungry mouths, and left a legacy of love.
 
On Tuesday, her neighborhood said a tearful goodbye.

She never had a lot. But what she had, she shared.

"I was going through a difficult time," said one mourner, describing how she helped him.

Over the decades in her house on 15th Street on Capitol Hill, she helped raised her own eight children, but would often say "there's always food for others"  Always a warm place to stay for a family in trouble. Always a thick coat for a stranger shivering in the cold.

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"You could always get a hot pot of soup," said another mourner in tears.

Jackie Ferguson passed away in December. She'd long struggled with her health. "I hurt a lot, but I'm happy. Jackie's alright now. She's whole," said Joyce Hemphill, who is an adult now, but had leaned on Ferguson from the time she was ten.

For the new year, her family, her friends, her neighbors, and those she'd helped gathered at Lane Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church for her home-going.

"Even though she'd taken in a million, there was always room for one more," said Rev. H. Shirley Clanton.
    
"When we were hungry, she gave us food. When we wanted to sleep there, she let us sleep there," said her great grandson, Gionni Valentine, 12.

When people asked Jackie Ferguson what she wanted for Christmas, or her birthday, she always answered with the same three words: "love, peace, and happiness."

Jackie Ferguson is survived by 16 grandchildren -- and 16 great grandchildren. Her legacy of kindness and generosity lives on.