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Gerald "Gary" Charles Ford

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Gerald "Gary" Charles Ford
/ Categories: Obituary

Gerald "Gary" Charles Ford

July 10, 2018

Service Details

In accordance with Gary’s wishes cremation will be conducted and graveside services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, July 30, 2018 at Ft. Custer National Cemetery, 15501 Dickman Rd, Augusta, MI 49012 with Pastor Dan Lane officiating.

All are welcome to attend Gary’s service at Fort Custer.  Upon arriving, please be advised that there is a Cortege area where family and friends will gather before committal service and military honors.  Please let the gentleman at the entrance of the cemetery area know you are here for Mr. Ford’s service and they will direct you from there. 


                              

Obituary Notice

Gerald “Gary” C. Ford, a resident of Traverse City, MI died on July 10, 2018 after a valiant battle with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. His firm belief in God, as well as the love and support from his family and friends, ultimately gave him peace.

Gary never reached his goal of receiving a lung transplant and hoped everyone would consider becoming an organ donor.

Gary is survived by his loving wife, Diane; two children Stephanie and Brian (Christina); three grandchildren, Blake, Brandon, and Brielle. He is also survived by his father; Charles Ford, brother, Randy (Vicki) Ford; sister, Barbara (Kevin) Hysell; several nieces, nephews and family he dearly loved. He was preceded in death by his mother, Maxine Ford; brother, Robert Ford and sister, Nancy Ford.

Gary is a veteran of the Vietnam War, where he was a Navy Seabees in Danang, Vietnam.

He grew up on the family farm near Pine Lake between Plainwell and Delton and attended Delton High School, where he starred in football, basketball and track.   

He attended Western Michigan University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education with a minor in Business.  Later, he achieved his MA from WMU in Educational Leadership.

Gary started his career in education in 1971 as an Elementary and Secondary PE teacher. While an educator, he taught Middle School Earth Science, coached varsity football, was a High School Assistant Principal and an Athletic Director.

In 1980, Gary retired from education and joined the business world to work for Armstrong International in Three Rivers, MI.  There, he worked in Sales and was a Director of Training for Representatives and Customer Training Programs. He enjoyed his various roles and built many relationships worldwide as Manager of National Partnerships for the Corporation. He retired from Armstrong in 2011.

Throughout the years, Gary was involved in the Rotary, Lions Club, Athletic Boosters, United Way, Emergency Care Network Board, County School Board, Special Olympics, Chamber of Commerce, Riverside Health Clinic Board of Directors, and was a Sports Announcer for Centerville and Three Rivers High School.

After residing in Southwest Michigan for all of their lives, Gary and his wife, Diane, built their dream home in Traverse City, MI and enjoyed spending their retired winters in Naples, Florida with their “extended family” and friends. Gary was passionate about inspiring others, lending a hand, dancing, announcing ballgames and watching his children and grandchildren play sports.  He enjoyed reading, golf, fishing, lake life, as well as collecting Petoskey stones, beach glass, shells and rocks in the shape of hearts for his beautiful wife. He loved cheering on his favorite teams especially the Wolverines and Broncos. No matter where he was or what he was doing, his smile would light up a room.


 

                                                                                 

Additional Information
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be directed to the Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Program or the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. Envelopes will also be available and may be sent to Hohner Funeral Home in care of arrangements.                                                                                   

                          


           


James “Jim” Lemuel Bippus of Three Rivers, 85, passed away in his home surrounded by family on Wednesday, December 20, 2017. Jim had recently been admitted to Borgess Hospital due to complications related to kidney dialysis. When treatments became unsuccessful he determined he would leave this world on his own terms and in his own way. He was an ordinary man that lived an extraordinary life.

Jim was born in Bucyrus, Ohio on September 14, 1932, the youngest child of the late James and Blanch Bippus. When he was seven, his father died and Jim and his five sisters were then raised alone by Blanch, a resilient and strong woman who devoted her life to serving in the Salvation Army.

Jim enlisted into the United States Army. During his service, he earned The National Service Defense Medal. He was honorably discharged from the Army in September of 1955.

Jim attended Ohio State University taking advantage of the G.I. Bill and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering. During a six month internship at Essex Wire in Fort Wayne, Jim met and fell in love with Vera H. Mohre; they married in 1958. Jim became employed full time at Essex and took a transfer to Three Rivers, with Vera, and his now six children in tow.

The Essex position didn’t work out the way Jim had imagined, so he quit. After a few months of soul searching he saw the for rent sign in the closed Standard Service Station on Michigan Avenue. So Jim took the test to become a certified mechanic and passed it easily with no formal training. He and Vera opened the station and people started coming.

In 1987 he purchased what would become the Bippus Shell Station on the corner of 131 and Michigan Avenue. Many in the community came to know him for his trustworthy service in auto repair. But more than that, people admired the Bippus family: Vera at the cash register and their children pumping gas, helping to fix cars, or doing inventory on New Year’s Day. In 1997 the station was renovated and instead of offering car repair, now had a restaurant called Vera’s, another sign of Jim’s great love for his wife. Over the years Jim’s business became a cornerstone of the community: a place people met for coffee or lunch and were greeted with warmth and hospitality.

In 2012 Jim and Vera were voted Three River’s Citizens of the Year by the Lion’s Club for their many contributions to the town. Jim made doughnuts on Sunday mornings for the Immaculate Conception Church, read to children at Andrews School, mentored a young student, participated in the County Infrastructure Committee, collected turtles for the Lion’s Club Turtle Derby, and taught auto shop to adults. With his snow plow he kept the Immaculate Conception Church and the Lion’s Club parking lot plowed for free, and also routinely plowed out driveways for others.

Jim was a great lover of classical music. He enjoyed reading books by Thomas Clancy, John Grisham, and James Patterson. He also was a great fan of The Wall Street Journal. Jim loved to play cards and was part of a monthly poker group that met for over 30 years. He and Vera also played in a weekly bridge group for about the same number of years. Equally remarkable, Jim and Vera hosted weekly Sunday dinners for family members and anyone else that wanted to stop by. New people in town were warmly welcomed to the table.


Elizabeth “Betty” Jean Roberts, age 82, of Three Rivers, passed away peacefully on January 21, 2018 at her home surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Munger, MI. on July 6th, 1935 the daughter of the late Nicholas and Ethel (Orosz) Pless.

Betty has been a long time resident of Three Rivers. She enjoyed quilting and cross stitching and loved to read books and occasionally shop in Shipshewana. Betty’s true love and joy was taking care of her family, especially her grandchildren which she adored.

Mrs. Roberts was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Jack Roberts, and one grandson Nathanial Johnson.

She leaves to cherish her loving memory, three children, Jon (Cherie) Roberts, Kippy (Timothy) Waltz, both of Three Rivers, and Kristine Roberts, of Odessa, FL.; one brother, John Pless, of Three Rivers; seven beloved grandchildren, Mitchell Roberts, Daniel Waltz, Jordan and Peyton Roberts, Dacoda Jacobs, Kelly Magee and Meagan Fisher.

Elizabeth “Betty” Jean Roberts, age 82, of Three Rivers, passed away peacefully on January 21, 2018 at her home surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Munger, MI. on July 6th, 1935 the daughter of the late Nicholas and Ethel (Orosz) Pless.

Betty has been a long time resident of Three Rivers. She enjoyed quilting and cross stitching and loved to read books and occasionally shop in Shipshewana. Betty’s true love and joy was taking care of her family, especially her grandchildren which she adored.

Mrs. Roberts was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Jack Roberts, and one grandson Nathanial Johnson.

She leaves to cherish her loving memory, three children, Jon (Cherie) Roberts, Kippy (Timothy) Waltz, both of Three Rivers, and Kristine Roberts, of Odessa, FL.; one brother, John Pless, of Three Rivers; seven beloved grandchildren, Mitchell Roberts, Daniel Waltz, Jordan and Peyton Roberts, Dacoda Jacobs, Kelly Magee and Meagan Fisher.

Elizabeth “Betty” Jean Roberts, age 82, of Three Rivers, passed away peacefully on January 21, 2018 at her home surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Munger, MI. on July 6th, 1935 the daughter of the late Nicholas and Ethel (Orosz) Pless.

Betty has been a long time resident of Three Rivers. She enjoyed quilting and cross stitching and loved to read books and occasionally shop in Shipshewana. Betty’s true love and joy was taking care of her family, especially her grandchildren which she adored.

Mrs. Roberts was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Jack Roberts, and one grandson Nathanial Johnson.

She leaves to cherish her loving memory, three children, Jon (Cherie) Roberts, Kippy (Timothy) Waltz, both of Three Rivers, and Kristine Roberts, of Odessa, FL.; one brother, John Pless, of Three Rivers; seven beloved grandchildren, Mitchell Roberts, Daniel Waltz, Jordan and Peyton Roberts, Dacoda Jacobs, Kelly Magee and Meagan Fisher.


He is predeceased by his grandparents, parents Jerry and Irene Neidlinger, and brother Jim Neidlinger

The family welcomes all those who wish to celebrate Bob’s life to join them at Frankie’s by the Tracks on Friday, June 29th from 5-9pm. Appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided.

He is predeceased by his grandparents, parents Jerry and Irene Neidlinger, and brother Jim Neidlinger

The family welcomes all those who wish to celebrate Bob’s life to join them at Frankie’s by the Tracks on Friday, June 29th from 5-9pm. Appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided.

He is predeceased by his grandparents, parents Jerry and Irene Neidlinger, and brother Jim Neidlinger

The family welcomes all those who wish to celebrate Bob’s life to join them at Frankie’s by the Tracks on Friday, June 29th from 5-9pm. Appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided.

The family welcomes all those who wish to celebrate Bob’s life to join them at Frankie’s by the Tracks on Friday, June 29th from 5-9pm.

Memorial donations made in Bob’s memory can be directed to The Alzheimer’s Association. Envelopes are available at the funeral home.

The family welcomes all those who wish to celebrate Bob’s life to join them at Frankie’s by the Tracks on Friday, June 29th from 5-9pm.

Memorial donations made in Bob’s memory can be directed to The Alzheimer’s Association. Envelopes are available at the funeral home.

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39 comments on article "Gerald "Gary" Charles Ford"

John Shelley

Great to have worked with Gary. A great person that I think kept company politics out of his focus. The world will miss Gary for being Gary. My condolences


Roberta Ryan

I worked with Gary in the Sales Department for several years. Great to work with and super sense of humor. May God comfort the family and his peace be yours.


Jim and Julie

What a kind, caring man who was genuinely interested in others. I know how loved he was and what a hole has been left in your lives. Hugs to you all.


Steve and Karen Bailey

We are so sorry for your loss. He was such an inspiration to many. May God's peace surround you and give you comfort. Hang on to all the wonderful memories you hold dear until you meet again in heaven. Praying for you all.


Andy/MaryK Todf

Thanking about you Diane, Brian and Stephanie good memories of times in the past for both of us. Be strong together you have made wonderful memories.


Linda Goss

Gary was our good neighbor & friend at Lake Templene. Our prayers & deepest sympathy to his family. Love, Dale & Linda Goss


Steve and Brenda Nicolaides

Although we only met Gary in November of 2016 in Naples Florida we quickly became friends and enjoyed spending time poolside with both Gary and Diane. Facebook has kept us in touch since then and we enjoyed another visit with them in January 2018. So although our friendship is much shorter with him than many others who will send condolences, we feel fortunate to have crossed paths with such a kind and gentle man. Sending peace and love to the family.


Sue & Larry Redmond

We are Christina's Aunt and Uncle. The times we were with the Ford family Gary always projected energy to those around him. We will miss him. We will pray for Gary and the Ford Family.


Bill and Sandra Cooley

We will miss you Gary. Our prayers go out to Diane and family for your loss. Gary was very special and we will miss him.


Sally Boeschenstein

Chick and I are so sorry for your loss. Our memories of Gary and Diane are of two loving partners, who had so much fun with each other and everyone they knew. Smiles, laughs, jokes, caring service to others...those are the words that come to mind with both of them. His heart was always full with love for his family and friends, and he will be missed. Please know you are in our hearts today and into the future. Gary’s spirit and love will be with you all forever.❤️


Vicki Mericle

Gary was a great co-worker and friend. He will be missed by all who knew him. He always had a funny story to share or a ear to listen. Rest In Peace Gary.


Caroline Rentfrow

Had the pleasure of knowing Mr. & Mrs. Ford, since I was in high school and worked with Gary at Armstrong’s. Together they set the standard for everyone to live their life’s. Rest In Peace Gary. Comfort and strength to the family.


Tom & Stacy Quake

Mr. Ford, what a gentleman! We are so sorry for your loss. The void he left on his world is a big one, as he was one of those men larger than life itself. We are praying across the miles for His peace, that surpasses all understanding, to be upon his family in this incredibly difficult time.

The Quakes


Steven Lee

Stephanie, I am sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.


Pamela (Ford) Sandoval

Our condolences to family & friends of Gary. While I haven't seen him since I was a child, but we had reconnected on FB a few years ago. He would always check in with me to see how his uncle Gene was doing. My grandpa was always so happy to hear that Gary had said hello or sent a cheery message his way. He will be missed.❤


Dick Shilts

The world has lost a true gentleman, wonderful father, and all around model citizen. His life has made all who knew him better. May memories of his life of significance provide comfort to all his loved ones until the time they will meet again. God’s love to each family member left behind.


Tim Ford

Uncle Gary was like a father, stepping in to help my mom and I when my dad, his brother Bob, passed away suddenly in his twenties. The love he had for his children, and they for him, is beyond words. His love of Aunt Diane is something all husbands should aspire to. I didn't know until I read his obituary that we share a fondness for sea glass, Petoskey stones, and heart shaped rocks. Something I'll now cherish as a bit of him living on theology those he touched.


Rick Yokuty

What a tragic loss. I consider it a great privilege to have known Gary. He was truley one of the nicest men I have ever meant. RIP Gary. The sun will shine on you forever. Condolences to Diane and the entire family


Michael Ludwig

Rest in piece "G-money".

Thank you for your guidance, and friendship.


connie and tom speers

We are so saddened by the loss of this great man, and have appreciated Stephanie's updates. You are a very strong family who we hold in our prayers.


Joisan Decker DeHaan

My deepest condolences. Gary was a kind and gentle soul with a warm smile and sweet sense of humor, just like Maxine. My heart breaks for his family but his kindness and generosity live on in his children. Sending love and prayers to all his loved ones. Love, Joisan (Decker) DeHaan


Debbie (Miller) Davis

Mom Ford, Stephanie, and Brian: I can’t imagine your pain during the loss of such an amazing husband and father. Gary was always so kind and helpful, and his warm smile and genuine personality will be missed. I will miss his great hugs and quick wit. My heart aches for you, but his faith and yours will carry you forward. His legacy is the love he had for you and that you will pass on to your loved ones as well.


Bill Klussmann

As part of Gary and Diane's extended family in Naples Florida I feel this loss terribly. What a kind and compassionate man Gary was. I am so very honored to have known Gary and Diane and fortunate to have meet his daughter Stephanie. Gary will always be remembered for his contagious smile and always wanting to help and do for others, especially the children in his life.

My prayers continue for the Ford family in this very difficult time. Please know Dine our "Greenlinks" family are and will always be here to help you any time of the day or night.

Bill


Keith and Lorraine Taylor

We had only recently met Gary and Diane in Naples and liked them immensely from the off. It was my pleasure to be seated next to Gary at one of the cook outs and we had a really enjoyable conversation. My lasting impression was “what a gentleman”. His love for Diane absolutely shone through as did her love for him. Some people can go a lifetime and not have the kind of love they clearly had. He will be sorely missed by his family and friends and our heart felt prayers go out to Diane, Stephanie and Brian and extended family. God bless, Keith & Lorraine Taylor, London, England.


Gary & Celia HILL

It was a pleasure to have met him! Just wish we had met him earlier. Great Guy!!


Jenny Reece Taffee

Our hearts go out to the Ford family. I have fond memories of this man and he leaves behind a legacy of love, kindness, and compassion for others. On behalf of the Reeces, we send you peace and love during this most difficult time.


Diann Robinson

My prayers and thoughts go out to Diane and the family. Gary was such a pleasant genuinely friendly man. He will remain in everyone's hearts.


Tom Molter

I was a Training Coordinator with General Motors when I met Gary. He helped me send 230 Pipefitters tgrough the Armstrong Training Program. I found Gary to be very professional, efficient and friend,y.


Bonnie Hassenger

My deepest sympathy goes out to the Ford family in the passing of Gary. We worked together at Armstrong. Gary always had a smile and took time to stop and say hello and ask how things were going. He was a nice, caring person who will be missed by many.


Paul and Mary Ann Ortenzio

Everyone travels through life and leaves behind memories and special signs of friendship. Gary has left us with clear signs to follow; the trail behind is filled with smiles and guideposts of a life of love and caring. We will remember you as a quiet man with a clear goal of listening and understanding. Above all, your friendship and the devotion Diane has shown will be treasured always. Paul and Mary Ann


Jack and Debbie

Many friends come into our lives and touch our lives, but only a special few become like family in our hearts. Gary truly was one of those friends. We feel so fortunate to have enjoyed Gary's very kind, caring and genuine mannerisms. In addition to being a gentleman, Gary was a true gentle man. We will miss his beautiful smile and sparkling eyes. Much love to his wonderful family.


Mel Muffley

I met Gary through his wife Diane, with whom I worked with at TRHS. Gary was a wonderful person to know, as well as Diane (whom I dearly loved). I retired from TRHS 10 years ago, Gary came in to see me and wish me well. He gave me a beautiful plant from him & Diane. He was always smiling, was compassionate and caring about other people. Our prayers & thoughts are with you Diane and the kids. LeRoy & Mel Muffley


Pat Annen McNally

Dearest Diane (Did). So sorry to hear about Gary. Heard the bad news from Bunny (Bun) at the alum breakfast. Sandy Rice (Sam) was there also. Wish you comfort with your family and healing with time and God. Prayers to you.


Glenda Macrae

Diane...I know your heart is breaking after losing the love of your life. I too lost Richard Macrae almost 3 years ago . Richard and I both knew Gary through work as reps in oklahoma for over 30 yrs. We both really thought a lot of him. I am praying for your peace and God will carry you through no matter how deep your void is. Think of treasured memories and Gary's place in heaven . His love will always be with you and yours.


Kris Skirkanich

Diane, Stephanie, and Brian, I’m so lucky to have met Diane and Gary my first season at Greenlinks. What an amazing love you had for each other. I had lost my husband and Diane came up to me to talk. Here our relationship began. I’ll never forget our times together or laughs our family ties. I send love to all of you from my family and pray you all are doing okay and remembering what an amazing husband and father was given to you. Love and hugs to you all!!! Wish I could be with you but I am in spirit and heart!!! Xoxoxo ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


Chaplain Daniel R.Lane

Tonight I sit with tears in my eyes, but a smile on my face as I have the honor of officiating the service tomorrow for my friend. It will not be a “goodbye”, but a “See ya!” as I know I will see you in heaven my dear friend. Good job buddy! You loved and lived your life well.


Kathy Rogers Deering

I never knew Gary but wish I could have! He leaves quite a legacy. May God comfort you daily and nightly, Diane and family.


Kathy Stone

Gary had a way with people - his quiet strength, his ability to really listen, his ready hug. I am heartbroken for all of you. He will be missed.


Sandy (Sam) Rice Hamilton

Dear Diane (Did), I am so sorry to hear the news of Gary's passing. Although it has been so long, you were always in my thoughts. I pray that you will trust deeply in our Lord to help you through this difficult time in your life. My sincere sympathy to you and your family. Love, Sam

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