John A. Ford, 86, formerly of Bridge City

 

Last updated 5/16/2023 at 7:03pm

John A. Ford, 86 of Richmond, TX and formerly of Bridge City, TX passed away peacefully on March 7, 2023 with his family lovingly by his side. As a Christian, his family is comforted in knowing John is in the arms of Jesus. While in Bridge City, John and his family were active members at Liberty Baptist Church.

John was born on November 20, 1936, at the family home in Groves, TX on Hogaboom Road. John was the youngest child of Louis Olney Ford and Ona Iris Sanders Ford and was loved by his sister, Evelyn and the four Ford brothers; JT Ford, Bill Ford, Wayne Ford and Louis Ford, Jr.

As a child John lived in Kirbyville, TX, Port Arthur, TX and Bridge City, TX. He lived the farm life where he was responsible for many chores and rode his horse to school. John spoke of his first paying job as an usher at the theater that was once in Bridge City. He said he wore a spiffy uniform that made him feel special as he escorted people to their seats. His first professional job was working as a laboratory technician at DuPont Sabine River Works in Orange, TX. During this time of his life he earned a reputation for himself as a “hot rod” as he liked to drag race on the back roads! After work, he would make a stop at The Dippo, the local fast-food spot where he did his best to impress his bride-to-be. She was smitten with him, and on August 9, 1957 he married Geraldine Louise Darby. The two were married at the Nazarene Church in Bridge City during the high winds and torrential rains of Hurricane Audrey. The storm didn’t bother these lovebirds, and the ceremony took place as planned. While they had hoped to honeymoon in Galveston, they only made it as far as the Seagull Motel in Port Arthur because of the storm.

John and Geraldine set up their home at 240 Lake Street in Bridge City, TX. They began their family and had three children, Vicki, John Jr., and Mark. The family enjoyed traveling, camping and spending time with friends and relatives. John shared special memories of fishing with his best friends. With little experience and no formal training, John built several homes for family and several friends. He was most proud of the work he did in joining many others to rebuild Liberty Baptist Church following several hurricanes. John was a man of many talents and had the confidence to do most anything. He was a prankster and a great storyteller.

John served as a Deputy Constable for his brother, Louis Ford, Jr. who held the office of Constable, Pct. 3 Orange County, TX. Tragically, Louis was killed in the line of duty on an evening in 1971 while responding to a call. The Orange County Commissioners approached John and asked if would consider fulfilling the remaining time of his brother’s term. John accepted the request and was appointed Constable. With honor and pride, John served Orange County as Constable, Pct. 3 for a total of 38 years, the longest elected office held by anyone in the County.

In addition to fulfilling the required duties as Constable, John was fully engaged in contributing his personal time to the community. John made hundreds of trips escorting school buses for Bridge City and Orangefield to out-of-town football games and contests. He also served many grieving families by escorting hundreds of funerals throughout his career. Although none of these activities were part of his job as Constable, John felt it was his was his way of showing support of the school districts and to honor to those who had passed on. He served as an active member of the Rotary Club and was a recognized Paul Harris Fellow recipient. John was actively involved with the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce and participated on several committees for special events. He enjoyed helping with the Bridge City parades and served once as Grand Marshall. Other times he worked behind the scenes coordinating parade participants. In 1988 John helped coordinate activities associated with the 50th Rededication of the Rainbow Bridge. His family, especially his mother, was so proud when he was named Bridge City Citizen of the Year in 1991. From that day until she died, she referred to her son lovingly as COTY – Citizen of the Year!

Preceding John in death were his parents Iris and Louis Olney Ford, wife Geraldine Ford, sons John A. Ford, Jr. and Mark K. Ford, granddaughter Rachel Ford, sister Evelyn Bernard, and brothers JT Ford, Bill Ford, Wayne Ford and Louis Ford, Jr.

John is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Vicki and Bill Stein of Missouri City, TX and grandchildren (and great-grandchildren) Benjamin and Amanda Stein (Peyton, Evelyn and Charlie) of Madison, AL; Jonathan and Rachel Levins (Olivia, Penelope and Spencer) of Jacksonville, FL; Kristen and Joseph Edmond (Gabriel and Lukas) of Chappell Hill, TX; Daniel and Lynae Ford (Ryleigh, Taryn and Samuel) of Kerrville, TX; Rebecca Baker (Alyson) of Vidor, TX and Kevin Ford, Jr. and Sophia Emert of Conroe, TX. Other surviving family include Evelyn’s husband, brother-in-law Bobby Bernard of Bridge City, Geraldine’s sister Zilda Bland of Bridge City, cousin Jesslyn Lewis of Nederland, TX, and many nieces and nephews. John Ford, Jr. passed away only weeks after his father and leaves behind his wife and John’s daughter-in-law Melinda Becker of Cypress, TX and her children Morgan and Dylan.

John felt his special calling was to help people, and he fulfilled that calling so well and so often. He never met a stranger and could discern when someone could use encouragement or a listening ear. He demonstrated that best as he took care of his wife, Geraldine, when she became ill in 2018. There wasn’t one day when John wasn’t by her side, tending to her every need until she joined her savior in August 2021. The two are together again now and reunited with so many beloved family and friends who have gone before them.

The family invites you to join them in celebrating and honoring the life of John A. Ford at a memorial service on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 at 3:00 pm, Liberty Baptist Church, 2717 W Round Bunch Rd, in Bridge City, TX.

 

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