It is with great sadness that the family of Francis Patrick (“Pat”) Ford shares the news of his passing at age 98 on February 19, 2022 in the comfort of his home.
Pat, the seventh of nine children born to James Austin Ford and Magdalene (Lil) Keaveney Ford, was born at home in Elizabeth, NJ, on May 20, 1923. He and his beloved wife Kathleen Giblan Ford (“Kitty”) were married for 61 years before she predeceased him. Pat retired from the U.S. Postal Service following a 39-year career that began with the distribution of mail sacks from a moving train for the Railway Mail Service and concluded with his operating a computer to direct mail at the Kearney (NJ) Bulk Mailing Center.
Pat served our country with honor during WWII in North Africa and in the Rome-Arno and Apennines campaigns in Italy from 1943 – 1945 in the 5th Army - 34th Infantry Division, 133rd Regiment - Company A as a Private Combat Infantryman, Private First Class, Military Policeman, and Chemical Warfare Toxic Gas handler in the 758th Chemical Depot Company at the end of the war. He was wounded twice and awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Bronze Oak Leave Cluster, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medals and two Bronze Service Stars, WWII Victory Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Honorable Service WWII lapel button and Distinguished Service Medal of New Jersey. While in Italy during the war, Pat had a private audience with Pope Pius XII as a representative of the U.S. Army.
Pat was a wonderful father to his three beloved children and their spouses: Laurel and Russell Smith, Ret. USAF Captain Kathleen Ford, Patrick and Elizabeth Ford, and grandfather to his four grandchildren and their spouses: Cameron and Colleen Smith, Ainsley Smith and Zach Orsulak, Rachel Ford, Becca Ford, and great-grandchild Caroline Grace Smith. He also leaves many nieces, nephews, and friends. Pat was predeceased by his parents, seven siblings and their spouses.
Pat was renowned for his “Words of Wisdom,” stories of his life and positive perspective on the future. He felt that every day after WWII was a gift and recommended that we “make each day count”. He was so grateful that he was also known to say, “I want for nothing”. Pat welcomed debate on current affairs/policy, and followed business news, including the daily market price of gold and a barrel of oil.
Extremely proud of his Irish heritage, Pat was an enthusiastic member of the Union County (NJ) Irish-American Association and was named "Irish Couple of the Year” with Kitty in 2001. One of the happiest days of his life was when he found out that he was 100% Irish following a DNA test (“Up, Mayo”). With Kitty by his side, Pat was an avid traveler whose trips included a "leg" of the world cruise on the Queen Elizabeth II.
The family is deeply grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs Springfield Home-based Primary Care Team who provided the best of care, with special thanks to Gretchen Matte RN and Susan Cournoyer NP. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Pat’s memory may be made to the Team’s special fund that provides veterans in the Home-based Primary Care Program with supplemental items that the VA does not provide. Donations should be made payable to the VA CWM HCS, with a notation: In memory of Francis “Pat” Ford, and mailed to the HBPC Program, 421 North Main Street, Leeds, MA. 01053 Attention: Voluntary Services.
Family and friends are invited to gather directly at Holy Name Church on Saturday, March 5, after 10:00 am, prior to the liturgy of Christian Burial at 11:00 am, with parking at 52 Alderman Street, Springfield. Masking and social distancing will be observed.
A military burial will follow at a future date.
For more information and to leave condolences, please visit https://www.mitchellcofuneralhome.com/
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Francis "Pat" Ford, please visit our floral store.