Ralph Ford

Ralph Ford

Ralph Ford died February 11, 2017 while confined at the Heritage House of Pequot Lakes, Minnesota at the age of 86.
He was born at home on September 20, 1930 to Margaret and Thomas Ford in Excelsior, Minnesota.
He attended Waconia High School he played on the 1945 Wildcats football team that were the undefeated conference champions, that year.
Ralph married Jean Carol Jarvis on November 22, 1950.
He attended the University of Minnesota and graduated with a bachelor degree in Occupational Therapy. He was the only man in a class with 18 women. While attending the university as a student, he worked at the University of Minnesota Hospital as an orderly to support his wife, Jean, and their first baby, Connie.
Rick, their first son, was born when Connie was two years old. The family moved to Wisconsin where Ralph worked as an Occupational Therapist in a hospital. While there John was born when Rick was a year old. The family moved to Oklahoma where Ralph worked in Occupational Therapy. Colleen, Ralph and Jean’s second daughter, was born there.
Ralph joined the Air Force. He was stationed at the Tachikawa Air Force Base in Japan, working at the hospital on base in 1956 as an Occupational Therapist and as a 1st LT for one year. His wife, Jean, and their four children joined him for another year. His final rank in the Air Force was Captain. Third daughter, Amy, was born in Japan while they lived there.
The family moved to Bear Creek, Colorado where Ralph worked as an Occupational Therapist in a hospital there. Ralph’s father, Tom Ford, asked him to return to Minnesota to help him with the House of Bargains furniture store. Wanting to please and help his father, Ralph moved his family to Waconia, Minnesota. Jan, his youngest child was born there.
When Ralph’s father no longer needed his help at the furniture store, Ralph began working at the Veterans’ Hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota as the Assistant Chief of Occupational Therapy. The family lived on Big Fish Lake of Cold Spring, Minnesota.
While working at the Veterans’ Hospital, Ralph was chosen by Governor Harold LeVander in 1968 to be the Rehabilitation Therapy Director for the State of Minnesota. While working in this capacity, he earned a Master Degree of Education with a major in Recreation and Park Administration, completing it on June 13, 1970.
With his focus on the needs, respect, dignity of each individual, he worked to improve the lives for people living in the institutions and group homes in the state of Minnesota.
Since then, the state does not appear to have experienced the same level of dedication and compassion Ralph encouraged for improving the lives and care of every institutionalized elderly and disabled individual.
When not working, he grew a garden, went fishing and hunting to feed his family.
He had many talents. He had a beautiful tenor voice. He was artistic. He was an out-doors-man.
He loved the solitude and beauty found in nature. He believed in autonomy and healthy living. He had many virtues.
A visit from his new great grandson, Reed and hearing about him always brought joy and meaning to Ralph’s day.
Those who love him believe it is an injustice that a man who worked his entire life supporting the lives of others was not permitted to live out his life as he chose.
Ralph is and always will be deeply missed by daughter, Connie, devoted friend Ken, grandson, Aaron and family, sister, Janice, brothers, Ellis and David, and many other friends.
Graveside services will be held Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 2 p.m. at the Lake George Cemetery, Lake George, Minnesota. Military honors will be performed by the Star of the North Marine Corp League Honors Team. Ralph will lie next to his wife, Jean.

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