Richard Ford

May 8, 2014

Kevin Berger

Richard E. Ford – Picture from Indiana Academy Biography

Richard Ford passed away last month.  He is another long standing client and friend that we are going to miss.  I first met Richard through my involvement in the Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Council.  He was on the Fund board when I was on the Council.  Over the years we performed work at his home in Wabash and his cottage on Lake Maxinkuckee.  In 2006 we won an award for the work we performed for him on the Dr. James Ford Historic Home in Wabash.  It was the home of his great grandfather and we restored it as a museum to commemorate his life as a surgeon and Civil War hero.  It is currently one of the signature pictures on the front page of our website.

As with many of our clients, Richard became a friend as well.  We attended parties at his home and benefited from the connections he helped us make.  Richard was always a gracious host, enjoying putting people together and observing the interactions.  I sat at his kitchen table in Wabash on many occasions discussing the various plans he had.  Some of them were flights of fancy, but often if they caught his interest, they became reality.  Over the last year we had been working on his plans for an addition to the Charley Creek Inn in Wabash.  He often spoke of that as being his legacy and how he wanted to improve it.  That hotel was just a small part of the legacy he left.  His real legacy was in the friendships he made and the history he influenced.  In 2011 I wrote about him here when he received the Living Legend award from Indiana Landmarks.  He was honored twice as a Sagamore of the Wabash, Indiana’s highest honor.  At his memorial service the list of achievements was long.

Ford Theatre at The Honeywell Center

I attended the memorial service at the Ford Theatre in the Honeywell Center in Wabash.  There was a large crowd of Richard’s friends from Wabash and Culver as well as others from across the State and across the Country.  Richard asked for no eulogy, but his nephew obviously shared Richard’s sense of humor, saying “Richard requested there be no eulogy, but since the family felt he was in no position to protest…”  Ha!

The memorial consisted of music selected by Richard.  Some of those selections such as The Vacant Chair by George Root and Blow, Gabriel, Blow by Cole Porter illustrated his wry sense of humor for those of us that knew him.  In one of my last meetings with Richard and Mary Ellen, another friend I lost last year, Mary Ellen asked Richard about his health.  With a grin, he told her that as of his last Doctor’s appointment, “I no longer have an expiration date…”  He smiled and then told us about how he had planned his memorial and was concerned that the musicians would no longer be available since is passing had been delayed.  Mary Ellen told him, “Well, you should just go ahead and have it so you can enjoy it as well!”  During the whole service I kept smiling and looking up in the balcony to see if Richard might be up there having taken her advice.

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