Jan Fergerson named Christmas parade grand marshal

Tuesday, November 21, 2023–8:03 a.m.

-Staff reports-

Jan Fergerson has been named the grand marshal of the 2023 Rome Christmas Parade.

The announcement was made Tuesday morning during a breakfast at the Coosa Country Club.

In addition to her community involvement, as part owner of Ford, Gittings and Kane, Fergerson is celebrating her 50th year as a merchant on Broad Street.

This year the parade salutes all downtown merchants for their dedication to providing a vibrant downtown for Rome.

The parade is on Tuesday, November 28.

The theme is “CHRISTmas…It’s a Wonderful Life.”

2023 Rome Christmas Parade Grand Marshal Jan Fergerson (left) with Christmas Parade Committee Co-Chair Jerry Rucker)

You can read more in a news release from the Christmas Parade Committee below:

This year the Rome Christmas Parade would like to salute all our downtown merchants.

We are very fortunate to have a very vibrant and diverse downtown… shops…apartments…businesses — you name it. Rome’s downtown is alive and prosperous.

This year’s grand Marshal truly is a rare ‘gem’ in the Rome-Floyd County community. As she celebrates her 50th Year on Broad Street this year, we are guaranteed to find her name on the nice list.

For those who don’t know her story, it would be impossible to list all her professional and civic achievements as well as the many volunteer and charitable endeavors that Jan Fergerson undertakes but here are just a few.

A native to Rome, the daughter of Reverend Warren and Jerry Jones, Jan graduated with honors from West Rome High School in 1973, skipping the 11th grade. She and her husband, Phil, have two daughters Jamie Fergerson and Michele Rikard. They are the grandparents of Avery Rikard and Rowan Fergerson.

Jan was only seventeen years old in 1973 when standing in her parents’ kitchen as she washed dishes, Joe Gittings asked if she wanted to work in his jewelry store for the Christmas season. At the time, she did not know how those dirty dishes would change the course of her life. Jan took flight under the guidance of Joe Gittings and her career as a Certified Gemologist Appraiser began and has continued to flourish by becoming part-owner of Ford, Gittings, and Kane in 1996. As a 15-year Breast Cancer Survivor, Jan understands and embodies selfless service in her work as well as her life.

Professional Organizations

American Gem Society (National Organization)

Registered Jeweler – 1979

Certified Gemologist – 1981

Certified Gemologist Appraiser – 1984

Fellow Award – 2007 – The Fellow Award is an award of distinction recognizing outstanding contributions and service to the jewelry profession.

American Gem Society Southeastern Guild** – has held positions as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President and President

Georgia Jewelers – Past President and current Scholarship Chair, as well as other positions.

In 1981, she became the first female Certified Gemologist in the state of Georgia followed in 1984 when she became the first female Certified Gemologist Appraiser in the state.

In 1987, she became the first female president of the Southeastern Guild of the American Gem Society.

Civic and Community Organizations

Pride (now Downtown Development), President

Girl Scouts – Outstanding Volunteer Award and Green Angel Award

Volunteer Boy Scouts of America (BSA)

Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce, Woman of Excellence Award

Rome Rotary (since1996)

Upcoming President 2024 -2025

Leadership Rome,

United Way of Rome & Floyd County – Campaign chair 1996

Rome Area History Museum, previous board member

Trinity United Methodist Church – has worked with youth and/or taught Sunday School with her husband since 1976 at Trinity

Volunteer Mission is Possible charity for special needs families.

Volunteer Backpack Buddies

Volunteer Brighter Birthdays

Volunteer Rome Visitor Center

Volunteer Rome Area History Museum / Rome Area History Center

Volunteer Rome-Floyd County Community Kitchen

Junior Service League Sustainer

Volunteer Thanksgiving Love Feast

Recipient (1992), Volunteer and Donor Heart of the Community

And I can honestly say every time there is a charity auction in Rome, there is always a donation from Ford Gittings and Kane.

Countless people have been helped by Jan’s giving spirit. She gives so much of her time and energy toward making our community vibrant. Jan Fergerson is a Christmas Miracle and makes everything merry and bright for the community and all those whom she has touched directly or indirectly.

Congratulations, Jan.

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