South Laurel: Beloved neighbor and friend will be sorely missed

Our community lost a longtime and beloved member July 15. Retired Army Lt. Col. Edward A. Ford lived in the Bedford subdivision since 1973, after his retirement from the military. He and his wife, Lillian, were original owners when the area was developed. Over the years, Ed has been known for many of his accomplishments including the best vegetable garden in the development. He once caught two of my children climbing over his fence to steal tomatoes. We also had a garden, but somehow "Mr. Ford's" tomatoes were the best! Ed managed to maintain a perfect lawn surrounded by beautifully tended flowers, and had individually wrapped surprises for each neighborhood "beggar" on Halloween.

An ardent community activist, we long ago bestowed on Ed the title "Honorary Mayor of Bedford" because of his unstinting work in advancing projects to benefit the Bedford community. If we were in the yard and his windows were open in the summertime, we could hear the typewriter keys clacking, and knew that Ed was on to another important mission.

Ed was giving of himself in many other venues as well. When his sister-in-law, Mary, was diagnosed withAlzheimer's, he and Lillian spent time every day for many years visiting the nursing home, including providing decorations for different holidays. When Lillian passed away several years ago, Ed devoted himself to other projects, including serving as a volunteer at Laurel Regional Hospital.

A major influence in Ed's life was being a parishioner at St. Nicholas Catholic Church. It is hard to recall a project at St. Nick's that Ed was not involved in, including the annual bazaar and volunteering in the parish office. This involvement was noted July 28, when a memorial Mass at the church was attended by hundreds of his friends.

Ed took an interest in all the neighborhood children, taking them to task if their report cards were subpar, and praising their accomplishments. As years went by, he became their honorary grandpa. The day Ed died, one of his neighbors set up a poster in front of Ed's house stating, "Our dear neighbor, Mr. Edward Ford to some and Grandpa Ford to others, departed this life 7-15-12. He will be surely missed by all."

Within hours, the poster was filled with other messages such as: "We will dearly miss you"; "We will always keep you in our hearts"; "You blessed us with your smile and caring heart"; "I am so honored to have known you as my 'Grandpa Ford.' "

And the final message, sentiments shared by all who knew and loved him: "Rest in peace our friend."

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