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Mary Katherine “Kay” Ford

Obituary Condolences

Hendersonville – Mary Katherine (Kay) Keith Ford, 95, passed away Monday, November 16, 2015 at the Hendersonville Health and Rehabilitation Center following a lengthy period of declining health.
She was a life-long resident of Hendersonville and a devoted wife and mother who is also remembered as a dedicated and much admired teacher in the classrooms of Henderson County schools including the former Balfour and East Flat Rock elementary schools as well as a lay-teacher at Immaculata Catholic School.
Born March 16, 1920, she was the daughter of the late Otho Roy and Hester Carr Keith of Hendersonville. She was also predeceased by her husband of 60 years, Robert Ford, teacher and guidance counselor at East Henderson High School and by two brothers, Dr. O. Roy Keith, Jr. and David A. Keith.
She was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, where she and her late husband were married in 1943.
Mrs. Ford was an accomplished pianist and an avid reader. She was a charter member of the Entre Nous Book Club, which was established in the early 1950's and included among its members an elite group of female social, business and academic leaders within Henderson County.
She was a 1938 graduate of Hendersonville High School and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in the field of elementary education from Furman University in 1942. She attended every class of '42 reunion during the following 60 years and was the last surviving member of that class.
Her teaching career was put on hold while she and her husband reared a family of four, including three sons and a daughter.
She resumed her teaching career in the late 1950's in order to enable her husband to return to Furman University to resume studies interrupted by his assignment to the U.S. War Department during the nation's involvement in World War II. Her teaching efforts enabled her husband to receive a BA degree in 1959 followed by a Masters degree in education in 1964.
Mrs. Ford remained involved in the social and academic life of Hendersonville following the death of her husband in 2003 and led a full and active life for a decade thereafter which included interaction with her four children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Survivors include her sons, Robert Ford, Jr. and Edmund Keith Ford (wife, Dara Freeman Ford), both of Hendersonville; William N. Ford of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin; and daughter, Mary Katherine Gerdes (husband, Don Gerdes), of Fletcher. Also surviving are grandchildren, Kelly Kristine Duckworth of Round Hill, Virginia; Elizabeth Dare Ferguson of Weaverville and Andrew R. Ford of Hendersonville. In addition, survivors include three great-grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews.
A funeral service will be held at 10:00 am Friday in Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. The family will receive friends immediately following the service. A private, family only interment will take place in Oakdale Cemetery in Hendersonville.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be sent "In Memory Of Mary Katherine Ford" to Four Seasons Hospice, Compassion for Life, 571 S. Allen Road, Flat Rock, NC 28731.
Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian is assisting the family and the memorial register is available at grocefuneralhome.com.
Published in The Times-News from Nov. 18 to Nov. 19, 2015
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