LT. COL David Ford
Lt. Col. USAF (Ret) David Edward Ford, 78, of Nixa, passed away Tuesday, October 1, 2013. He was born to Sidney and Marjorie (Haskell) Ford, in Melrose, Massachusetts, July 25, 1935. David married Janiece Hilliard, December 19, 1997.
Colonel Ford joined the Air Force in 1962 as an enlisted member but was quickly accepted to Officers Candidate School. After completing flight training, he served as a tactical reconnaissance fighter pilot in the Viet Nam War. Colonel Ford's plane was shot down over Viet Nam and he and his crew were captured by the North Vietnamese Communists. Lt. Col. Ford remained a prisoner of war for 5 years and 4 months of incredibly brutal and inhumane treatment. He remained steadfast in his resistance to enemy torture.
Serving with some of the bravest men ever to wear the uniform of the United States, Lt. Col. Ford was one of the most highly decorated for heroism. His many awards include the Silver Star Medal, with two oak leaf clusters, the Purple Heart, with 3 oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Presidential Unit Citation, all awarded for valor in the face of a ruthless enemy.
Col. Ford was a member of NAM-POWs (The Vietnam POWs' fraternal society that he served as a Board Member and managed the communications listserv), the VFW, Missouri Purple Heart Organization, Red River Valley Fighter Pilots (The River Rats), American Ex Prisoners of War, and the American Legion. Upon retirement from the Air Force, he worked for the State of Ohio as a systems analyst, until his retirement.
David was a man's man in every good thing that expression connotes. He was brave, confident, had a strong work ethic. He was intolerant of those he felt weren't pulling their share of the load but was willing to help them achieve his high standards. David was a bigger than life "character" and will be missed by his family and all who knew him.
David is survived by his wife; step sons Robert Branch and wife Melissa, of Anchorage, Alaska, Leroy Branch and wife Katy, of Anchorage Alaska; daughters Sharon Ford, of Columbus, OH, Elizabeth Urban, of Florida, and Eleanor Hodge, of Ohio; many loved grandchildren, great grandchildren. Other family are Julie Mercer, Lisa Phillips, Renee Ford, and Robert Ford.
David is preceded in death by his parents, a son David Ford, a sister Marjorie E. and a brother John Sidney Ford, and two grandchildren, David and P.J.
A visitation will be held from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Friday, October 4, 2013, at Adams Funeral Home, Nixa. A funeral service and burial, with full military honors, will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington Virginia, at a future date.
Published in the News-Leader on Oct. 4, 2013