James Arthur “Jim” Ford, of Lansing, passed away peacefully on February 23, 2011. He had just celebrated his 80th birthday born February 19, 1931 in Dresden, TN. He was preceded in death by his mother Richie Lee Ford and sisters Francis Nell Ford (Billy Irvine) and Eleanor Ruth Ford (Sol Lee Lightner). He is survived by his loving wife Marietta Jean Ford (nee Bell) of 52 years and daughter, Dr. Sabrina Ford Williams of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and two grandchildren Alexandria and Christopher-Alan. He also leaves in memory a surviving sister, Ivy Jean Ford (Earl Tanner) of New York, New York, twenty-seven nieces and nephews, and a host of grandnieces, grandnephews and cousins all of whom he loved dearly.
As a young man, Billy loved playing baseball and fishing. He entered the United States Army with his first tour of duty to Korea. As an accomplished soldier, he became a paratrooper with the 11th Airborne (ABN) Division, the 82nd ABN Division, and then served with the elite 101st ABN Division. In addition, he was also an accomplished baseball pitcher with his Army divisions. Billy toured extensively throughout the United States and overseas including Germany, Panama, and Viet Nam and was highly decorated including two bronze stars. His last tour of duty was at the United States Military Academy where he retired after 21 years.
After retirement, Billy moved his family to Lansing, Michigan where he was employed by General Motors as a plant protection officer retiring after 19 years. He enjoyed many hobbies, including fishing, golfing, lawn care, vegetable gardening, and spending time with his loving grandchildren and family.
A memorial service will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, February 28, 2011 with visitation from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. A funeral service will be held at 1:30 p.m. at Fuller Street Baptist Church in Dresden, TN on Friday, March 4, 2011, with visitation from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. Interment will follow at Sunrise Cemetery in Dresden, TN. In lieu of flowers and gifts, please make donations to Hospice House of Mid-Michigan, 1210 W. Saginaw, Lansing, MI 48915 or Fuller Street Baptist Church, 310 N. Fuller Street, Dresden, TN 38225.