George Edward Ford

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FORD-George Edward. Of Palm Beach, FL, a private investor, sportsman, and philanthropist died on Friday, December 24, 2004 at Hospice of Palm Beach County following an extended illness. He was 97. Born in Barrie, Ontario (Canada) on May 10, 1907, his parents were Thomas Henry Ford and the former Rachel Mary Jones. His family moved to Rochester, New York when he was a child, where he completed his secondary education and then graduated from the University of Rochester, College of Engineering. Mr. Ford was a leader and innovator who never allowed anything to deter him from further exploration. At the age of 38, he left his position as Vice President of Engineering at the Rochester Manufacturing Company to establish a new company when he became aware of a major deficiency in the manufacturing industry of heavy electronic transformers and generators of diesel engines while using gas and flame without protective devices from unexpected accidents.In 1948, Mr. Ford founded QUALITROL Corporation in Fairport, New York to fill that need and provide the electric utility industry with the protective devices and monitor the systems for transmission and distribution. He opened a branch of QUALITROL in Waynesboro, TN to manufacture valves. Mr. Ford bought the MICROCONTROL in St. Louis, MO, a manufacturer of thermostats, and the DYNAPAR CORPORATION in Gurney, IL a manufacturer of digital controls. In the late 1960's, he sold all of his business interests to devote more time to his love of sports. As a child, Mr. Ford was a natural athlete who excelled in skiing, hunting, horseback riding, salmon fishing, and sailboat racing. Of all these activities,the one that Mr. Ford always referred to with the most passion was sailboat racing. He started sailing at the age of twelve and was ``hooked'' at the tender age of fifteen when he crewed in a Canadian Cat dingy. (He later introduced from England the International 14' racing dingy) Over the years, Mr. Ford won countless cups in national and international waters with different sailing boats, some of which he helped to improve the design. Among his many championships, he won the Canadian Douglas Cup in 1934 as the first American to win it since 1925; the Rochester Race that covered several hundred miles across fresh water; the Isaac Bell Trophy at Cowes Week in England; and several races in the Great Lakes. Mr. Ford was an upland game hunter most of his life and helped increase the membership in the Ruffed Grouse Society of North America from 150 members to 3000 members after he became its President. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club; the Rochester Yacht Club; The New York Yacht Club; the the Rochester Country Club; the Sporting Rock Beach Association in Newport, R.I.; and the Everglades Club, and the Bath and Tennis Club both of Palm Beach, Florida. Mr. Ford was very interested in good, responsible government. Among his many friends were General Dwight Eisenhower and Nelson Rockefeller, as he organized the industry in support of their political campaigns. He was a past Chairman of the Palm Beach Long Range Financial Planning Committee, and most recently was very active in the Absentee Vote of Republicans Abroad. Mr. Ford was preceded in death by his first wife Mary Louise Watters Ford, who died in 1970. In 1974, he married the former Beatriz Algarra-Cuellar of Bogota, Columbia. In addition to his wife, Beatriz, he is survived by a daughter from his first marriage, Louise Ann Ford; and a grandson, Nicholas George Grant, both of London, England. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 from 6:00 until 9:00 PM at Quattlebaum Funeral Home 1201 South Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401. A Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Thursday, December 30, 2004 at the Royal Poinciana Chapel, Palm Beach, FL, with Dr. Robert Norris, Pastor, officiating. Further services and entombment at Queen of Peace Cemetery will be held privately. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Mr. Ford's memory to Hospice of Palm Beach County, 5300 East Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33407.
Published in The New York Times on Dec. 28, 2004