IVON RALPH FORD III
May 6, 1947 - January 17, 2020
The Man, The Myth, The Legend. The Man started out in the small town of McDonough where he learned the basic values of friendship, compassion and sense of community, that he would carry on through life. Skip graduated from Oxford Academy in 1964 from SUNY Delhi in 1967. He then entered the Air Force and was given the advice to keep smiling. He then quickly learned the even more important lesson that when the Drill Sargent is speaking, you don't smile. After surviving basic, he married the love of his life, Patricia Marso, whom he would be married to for over 51 years. While in service, Skip was stationed in Blenheim, New Zealand. In Blenheim, he achieved some fame, (at least on the base), as a great softball player. His daughter, Jennifer, was born during this time. After he was transferred to Holloman AFB in New Mexico, his son Michael was born. After the Air Force he graduated from Georgia Tech in 1974, the first out of 4 Fords to eventually do the same. Upon graduating, Skip moved back to McDonough and worked at Ford Homes, the family business and proceeded to grow his family with the addition of his daughter Patricia (PK). When Ford Homes went out of business, he was employed by Commodore homes, taking his family to live in exotic locations like St. Jerome, Quebec and Syracuse, Indiana. After a year of moving around he moved back to McDonough and acquired employment with what was to become Proctor and Gamble Pharmaceuticals where he traveled the world and made many long-lasting friendships. In 2009, Skip retired by turning off the lights in the building after the last P&G employee left. After retirement he took great pride in his lawn and house. Skip did this to stay busy and honor the multiple generations of relatives that lived in the same house.
Skip is survived by his wife Patricia, daughter Jennifer (Jason di Palma), son Michael (Patricia Branham), daughter PK (Richard Pinder), grandchildren Miranda, Andrew, Brian, Zachary, Joseph, and Lucienne, sister Patricia, many cousins and in-laws, dozens of nieces and nephews, grandnieces and nephews and a tremendous amount of friends.
There is no Myth, in truth, during his whole life, Skip kept his sense of community. He was the town's little league coach, a Cemetery board member, long time member and President of the Oxford School Board, and a key member of many softball teams. Skip joined the fire department as a teen and became a lifetime member. While a fireman he taught many younger and new recruits how to fight fires and most importantly the proper way to sprinkle Genny beer on the BBQ chicken. He was the Secretary/Treasurer for many years. After his firefighting days were over, he gave up his fire jacket to be the driver on the Emergency Squad with his beloved EMT wife.
There are many legends, such as, hitting a softball 427 feet at SU, hitting the only fair ball of the best softball pitcher in the English Empire, writing a song about Christopher Columbus and winning more wrestling bouts than he lost and his high school football career. Well that last one is a stretch; Skip is remembered for coming off the bench to run a big play and tripping over the chain. His children were also athletes and he never missed a junior high or high school game that they played. In recent years, he traveled to watch his grandchildren's events as often as he could and would cheer them all on.
Skip's grandest legend is the fact that he instilled his values in his children who then passed them on to their children. His legend is further affirmed in the outpouring of sadness that friend and relatives, no matter how distant, have expressed. All in all, Skip was the best husband, father, relative and friend that there ever was. If Skip was here, he would leave you with this advice, "pull down your pants and slide on the ice" *Goodbye*Farewell*Amen*
Visiting hours will be held Friday, January 24th from 6-8 p.m. at Behe Funeral Home, 21 Main St., Oxford and again on Saturday, January 25th from 1-3 p.m. at Foundation Church, 36 South Washington Ave. The funeral will follow at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to McDonough Fire Department and Emergency Squad and the McDonough Improvement Committee.