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GARY FORD

Obituary Condolences

Gary Ford After a fierce and noble struggle against Carcinoid cancer, Gary Ford passed away on March 12, 2011. The passing of Gary leaves his family and friends with great sadness for he was a young man who left us far too early. In his final weeks, he found the loving kindness of friends and family to be the greatest gift of all. He will be deeply missed, for he was a Renaissance man and gentleman of true compassion. Gary was born November 17, 1954 and was raised in San Rafael and represented a generation in pursuit of the best within himself. His parents built one of the first homes in Loch Lomond in 1953. He attended Saint Raphael's grammar school, Davidson Junior High, San Rafael Military Academy and eventually graduated from San Rafael High in 1973. Perhaps one of his prouder moments at SRHS was failing PE. The wandering SRHS coach could not find him on the track or the practice field. Why?because Gary was continuously reading in the library. Gary's culinary and creative juices flowed in his early years. After enrolling in City College of San Francisco, he finished their Hotel and Restaurant program in 1975. He gathered up his set of skillet pans and set off to North Beach, to develop his growing skills, working in several restaurants in the City. His mind could not stop reaching for higher goals after his brief tour on the chef circuit. He attended San Francisco State, where he received a degree in Accounting. Like his father before, Gary tackled his junior accounting career with style and grace. But he knew that there was more than life than numbers on a page. Gary traveled around the globe setting off for Italy, Greece, and the Far East and beyond. The breathtaking sights of Europe, Bali and Asia, opened his eyes. His passion for adventure could not wait and joy for Gary was always found at the end of fly rod and the poetry of casting for the perfect trout on the McCloud and Sacramento rivers. His fishing passion took him to Whitefish, Montana where he lived and perfected his casting skills for a time. Upon returning, his accounting experience settled him into his position at Wells Fargo as a Financial Analyst, returning to the city he loved, San Francisco. He continued his quest for the best financial skills and continued his dream of achieving his MBA. He traveled down the peninsula to the Notre Dame De Namur University in Belmont, continuously for 5 years, night after night to achieve his post-graduate degree. He found the love of his life in Tracy Solomon. She was his soul mate from the start. He captivated her heart with his intelligence, wit, kindness and endless creations in the kitchen. From Tracy, Gary drew strength, kindness and sincerity. They were married in the Sonoma Valley in 1996, settling in San Rafael. Gary sought what he was looking for in his profession at the Bank of Marin. It was the crowning achievement of his business career. Surrounded by lifelong Marin friends and business colleagues developed over a lifetime, Gary was finally at home as a community banker in the area he grew up in and loved so much. His community contributions were recognized by the Bank in February 2011 with their Spirit of Marin award inspired by Dr. Jim Dawson and guided by George Bernard Shaw's poem, A Splendid Torch "life is a splendid torchI want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it to future generations". In his final chapter, Gary ultimately linked human and financial values to a place one would never think of politics. During his unsuccessful run for San Rafael City Council in 2009, the Marin Independent Journal endorsed Gary and his candidacy. They called him, ".the fly in the ointment but he's going to be the check in the balance as well." Gary was blunt, direct, and honest-- to a fault. His keen financial mind was sharp, independent and analytical. Many voters told Gary he was too honest for the job. He sighed softly and reluctantly agreed. A memorial service will be held in early April in Marin. Please look to caringbridge.org/visit/garyford or Marin IJ for an announcement. Gary is survived by his wife, Tracy Solomon of San Rafael. In addition, sisters Maureen Ford (Graeagle), Caroline Ford (Truckee), and brothers Frank Ford (Auburn), Bruce J. Ford (Petaluma) and Robert "Bob" Ford (San Rafael). In addition, he is survived by his nephews James Solomon (Cambridge, MA) Peter Solomon (S. Korea), Patrick Ford (Istanbul), Kyle Zell (Truckee), Alex and Jeremy Ford (Petaluma); and family dog Jazzy. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Gary E. Ford Memorial Fund in care of the Bank of Marin.
Published in Marin Independent Journal on Mar. 15, 2011
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