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Gilbert Ford

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Gilbert Ford Obituary
Gilbert Ford

Naples, FL

Former Olympian, Converse Chairman, and CEO

Gilbert "Gib" Ford, a Gold Medal winner in basketball at the 1956 Olympics and the former Chairman, President, and CEO of Converse, Inc., died Tuesday, January 10, 2017 from Pulmonary Fibrosis.

He has been a resident of Naples, FL since 1996 and previously resided in Lynnfield, Ipswich, and Danvers, MA. Born in Texas, he graduated from the University of Texas in 1955 with a BA in Business Administration. After serving in a variety of executive positions since joining Converse as a member of the sales staff in 1961, Gilbert was appointed to be Chairman, President, and CEO in 1986. Gilbert officially retired December 1, 1996 after 35 years with the company.

Gilbert is survived by his wife of 44 years, Jane of Naples, FL; a daughter Sarah and her wife Michele of Fairfield, CT; a son Jason and his wife Carrie of San Francisco, CA; a daughter from a previous marriage, Michelle Peters, her husband Larry, and three grandchildren in Spring, TX.

During his professional career, Gilbert was affiliated with several sporting goods, footwear organizations, and industry boards. He served two terms as Chairman of the Board of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) in 1982-1985 and 1991-1993. He also was a member of the Board of World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry, The New England Sports Hall of Fame, and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He served a six-year term as member of the Board of Trustees for Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA.

Prior to his years with Converse, Gilbert had an equally successful career in basketball. A native of Texas, he played for Amarillo High School and in 1950 was a participant in the Texas High School All Star Game. He is enshrined in the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame. Following high school, Gilbert played basketball for the University of Texas from 1950-1954 and was the co-Captain of the team his senior year, when the team was Co-Champions of the Southwest Conference. In 1986, he was inducted into the University of Texas Longhorn Hall of Honor. After graduation he served in the Air Force and played on the 1956 All Air Force Team and the All Armed Forced Team, which qualified for the 1956 Olympic Trials. He was selected to be a member of the 1956 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team, which won the Gold Medal at the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia.

There will be a service on Friday, January 13th at 10:00 AM at the Fuller Funeral Home in Naples followed by lunch at noon at Wyndemere Country Club. The family would appreciate your donations to Avow Hospice, 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, FL or the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org).
Published in Naples Daily News on Jan. 11, 2017
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