John J. Ford

November 18, 2013

John J. Ford, 75, of Mechanicsburg, passed away Monday at Holy Spirit Hospital surrounded by those he loved, after a courageous seven year battle with cancer.

Born in Minersville, April 22, 1938, he was a son of the late Edward and Julia Carroll Ford.

John was a loving husband, father and friend, as well as a career educator, public servant and community volunteer.

John retired from Harrisburg Area Community College as vice president emeritus and senior professor of chemistry after 47 years of dedicated service. John's legacy is his contributions to developing educational programs that served the central Pennsylvania community. Today, more than 85 percent of healthcare workers in central Pennsylvania receive their education and training at HACC.

John started his career in education at the Harrisburg Academy in 1962 before becoming one of HACC's founding professors in 1964 moving there to teach physical science and chemistry.

John held numerous positions at HACC: director of admissions and records; division counselor for math, science, and engineering; senior professor of chemistry; and for 22 years, John served as dean of math, science, nursing, allied health and physical education before retiring as vice president.

John was a leader and innovator. He was instrumental in developing most of the healthcare programs that the college offers today including the first college-based Nuclear Medicine Technology program in the state.

In his later years, embracing distance learning technology, John created the first microbiology course delivered through distance learning methods for the college.

He is perhaps most proud of the quality of nurses the college produces many of whom cared for him during his recent hospitalization. After his retirement, John was never really "retired," he still worked part-time at HACC as a counselor for students interested in healthcare careers.

John was a graduate of King's College and received his master's degree in college counseling from Shippensburg University.

He was a devoted member of Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church, Camp Hill, the church's Arimatheans group and its senior lunch program.

John was appointed by the late Joseph T. Daley, bishop of Harrisburg, as the first eucharistic minister in the Harrisburg Diocese at Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church.

He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Our Lady of Queenship Council 4068 and a 4th Degree Knight with Bishop Shanahan Assembly 917, where he served as comptroller and was active in the Color Corps. John also was a member of the Ancient Order of Hiberians.

John volunteered his time in support of those with special needs through active participation with the Dauphin County Association for Retarded Citizens and Camp Sertoma.

John was elected to public office as a Hampden Township Commissioner, was a past member of Good Shepherd School Board, the Board of Directors at Wildwood Nature Center and the Keystone Area Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Surviving are his loving wife of 51 years, Anna M. Bakonyi Ford; four children, Patricia A. Elgin, Mechanicsburg, Col. Stephen M. Ford and his wife, Shirley, Colorado Springs, Colo., Edward J. Ford and his wife, Frankie, Fulton, Ill., and Annette M. Bailey and her husband, John, Rochester, N.Y.; 16 grandchildren, Eric, Andrew and Amy Elgin, all of Mechanicsburg, Fred, Anna, Deven, Gregory, Robert and John Ford, all of Colorado Springs, Kara, Sean, Noah and Joel Ford, all of Fulton, and Danielle, Tristan and Sara Stoner, all of Rochester, N.Y.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday at Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church, with the Rev. Paul C. Helwig as celebrant. Interment will be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery. A viewing will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Malpezzi Funeral Home, Mechanicsburg. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the John J. Ford Memorial Scholarship Fund, One HACC Drive, Harrisburg PA 17110 or Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 3435 East Trindle Road, Camp Hill, PA 17011. To sign the online guest book, visit

Funeral Home

Malpezzi Funeral Home
8 Market Plaza Way Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
(717) 697-4696

Published in Republican & Herald on Nov. 21, 2013