Gertrude Theresa Fenimore "Sue" Ford

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  • "Ruth, so sorry for your loss. she was a truly amazing woman..."
    - Carol Jones
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Sue Fenimore Ford passed away quietly at Green Acres Nursing Home in Huntsville, Texas late Tuesday, November 22, 2011 from natural causes. She was 89 years old.

Sue was born on March 22, 1922 in Wilmington, Delaware to Dr. and Mrs. William Nolan Fenimore. Dr. Fenimore was a local doctor in the Wilmington area, and the family home and surrounding farm was located on Price's Corner. After contracting measles at the age of 18 months, Sue was left profoundly deaf and lost the ability to speak. Her father refused to accept that she could not learn and continually tutored and demonstrated to her how the vocal chords and diaphragm worked to make speech. Ahead of his time in medical treatments, he would not allow Sue to be treated "differently" and thus enrolled her in public school so she could learn from observing other children. Sue became a flawless lip-reader and eventually learned to speak without any outward signs of deafness. Later in life, many people did not even realize she was deaf.

After the first few years in public school, Sue then began attending Wilmington Friends (Quaker) School, from which she graduated in 1942. She was an avid basketball player and sports enthusiast and lettered in Varsity Basketball during high school. After graduating from Friends, Sue attended Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, where she majored in Chemistry. Her dream was to follow in her father and mother's footsteps in the medical field and become a registered nurse, but because no special provisions were made at the time for people with disabilities, she was told this would be impossible. Once surgical masks were put on, there would be no way for her to read lips in the operating suite.

Sue married Harry Brown in 1945, and the couple had four children: Dennis Brown, Roger Brown, Regina Brown and Jennifer Brown. This marriage later ended in divorce. In 1963, Sue corresponded with a childhood friend who had lived down the street from Price's Corner. Edward Ford's wife had passed away in Texas, and Sue sent a letter of condolence. Edward and Sue began communicating, and were married in January of 1964 in Arlington, Texas. Edward had two small children at the time: Patricia Ford and Rick Ford, who became Sue's stepchildren. The couple had an additional child later in 1964: Ruth Clair Ford, bringing the blended family to a grand total of seven children, and the family resided in Arlington.

Although the marriage to Edward also ended in divorce in 1972, Sue remained in Arlington where she was very active in civic and community organizations. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and was a great historian and researcher of family genealogies. She was a member of the Republican Women's Club, and was often a precinct judge for local elections and grassroots organizer for upcoming, young politicians. She served on several of the local historical committees during Arlington's major growth period in the 1970's and served on the Texas Rangers' Women's Club. She was also active in the membership at First Methodist Church in Arlington for many years.

In 2003, Sue moved to Conroe, Texas to be closer to family and younger grandchildren that lived in the area. She remained energetic and full of life, attending every school event, sporting event and extra-curricular activity that her grandchildren were involved in. While living in Conroe, Sue was a member of West Conroe Baptist Church, where she was a regular attendee of the Senior's Legacy PEP group and Vivian Hickman's Senior Women's Bible Class.

Sue is preceded in death by her devoted grandmother, Ella Jane Fenimore; her father, William Nolan Fenimore, M.D.; her mother, Gertrude Fenimore Feddem; her siblings, William Fenimore Jr., Leonard Fenimore, David "Cooper" Fenimore, John N. "Jack" Fenimore; and her eldest grandson, Police Officer Brian E. Brown of the L.A.P.D. She is survived by her half-sister, Mary Lou Fenimore Vibles; and by her children and their spouses, Dennis Brown and April Scharer, Roger and Martha Brown, Carson Fenimore and Dennis Hecker, Jennifer Martin, Patti and Mark Baird, Rick and Nancy Ford and Ruth and David Smith. Additionally, Sue is survived by her grandchildren: Sasja Michael-Brown, Rebecca Wilkins, Natalie Martin, David Brown, Nicholas Smith, Alexander Smith, Sterling Smith, Gabriel Smith, Madison Smith; great-grandson, Dylon Brown; and great great grandson, Brian Brown, as well as a host of others who loved her dearly.

The family would like to especially thank the loving team at Hospice Care of the Southwest, as well as the staff who so sweetly cared for Sue at Green Acres Nursing Home of Huntsville for this past year. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Seniors/Legacy group of West Conroe Baptist Church, 1855 Longmire Road, Conroe, TX 77304. Memorial service is pending, after which Mrs. Ford will be interred at Silverbrook Cemetery in Wilmington, Delaware.


Published on from Dec. 2 to Dec. 15, 2011