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Joann Purdie

Joann’s efforts have been crucial to sustain the JHS

Meghan and Joann - Gingerbread 2014 edit

Joann Purdie and JHS staff, Meghan Powell, are a powerhouse team for the Extravaganza.

Joann Purdie serves the Historical Society quietly, yet her projects and successes are big.

For five years she has captured the board meeting record as secretary and Executive Board member — no simple task. In addition, for the past three years, Joann has served at the helm of the society’s most demanding public event, the Gingerbread Extravaganza. She served first as operation manager and during the past two years as chair. In these roles, Joann was highly creative, organized, devoted, and tireless. The fundraising efforts, $30,000 this past year, have been crucial to sustain our mission.

With Joann’s leadership, the signature Gingerbread Extravaganza continues to grow. Started by the Rotary and turned over to the Jacksonville Historical Society in 2011, the Extravaganza is a beloved holiday tradition. Joann revised and streamlined the event’s operating and storage system, worked with Junior League Sustainers to bring the Festival of Trees to the Extravaganza and created a warm and exciting environment for the thousands of visitors who attend. Along the way, the history component is not forgotten — creating an event that compliments and promotes North Florida history.

The Jacksonville Historical Society By-laws include a provision that limits consecutive board service, and under these provisions, Joann is not able to serve in the new board year that begins this month. She has graciously agreed to take on the demanding role of Gingerbread Extravaganza operating manager for 2015.

Joann’s family claims a long involvement in the JHS. Joann’s father, the late Dr. Emmet Ferguson served as president of the Jacksonville Historical Society. Her brother, Judge Emmet Ferguson is a past board member and her mother has been a society member for decades.

The staff, board and members of the Jacksonville Historical Society applaud this very special team member. While deeply grateful for her hundreds and hours of work and thousands of dollars in JHS revenue, for everyone who works with Joann, the rewards are far greater — there is simply no one more fun to work with than Joann Purdie! Joann, we salute you…a valued “team member” and a true Jacksonville treasure.


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