G.W. Ford, 86

George W. Ford died March 20 2013, at his home surrounded by his loving family and friends, just a few weeks before his 87th birthday.

Visitation will be Monday, March 25, at Farrand Funeral Home in White Pigeon, Mich., from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. The funeral will be held Tuesday, March 26, at the White Pigeon United Methodist Church at 11 a.m. followed by the burial in White Pigeon Township Cemetery with Rev. Scott Manning officiating.

G.W. was born in Lauderdale County, Ala., on April 26, 1926, to Jesse and Hallie (Balintine) Ford.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Earl, Donald and Ralph.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Nora (Hart) Ford, Lynda Ford Appuhn (John) and Mike Ford.

G.W. and Nora were both born and raised in Florence, Lauderdale County, Ala., and then chose the Village of White Pigeon, Mich., as their home in 1947. G.W., also affectionately called “Dub,” was the proprietor of Ford’s DX/Sunoco Service Station for 28 years, followed by a position as maintenance supervisor at Michigan National Bank for 15 years.

G.W. served in World War II, U.S. Army Rainbow Division, 1944-1946 and received several awards including the Bronze Star for rescuing another GI under gunfire. He was one of the first GIs to enter Hitler’s weekend retreat known as the “Crow’s Nest.”

G.W. was an active supporter of the White Pigeon community. Service and accomplishments include village trustee and village president for 28 years; Rotary Club; Lion’s Club; Junior Chamber of Commerce, Distinguished Service Award; chairman, St. Joseph County Veteran’s Affairs; and the Michigan Municipal League. G.W. and Nora were also active volunteers at the local Care Network.

G.W. was a member and officer of the American Legion Post 138 for 62 years. He was Legionnarie of the Year in 2000. When the Legion needed repairs, the flag replaced or other attention, G.W. was the go-to guy and always available to help. When a local veteran funeral required manpower for the firing squad and related honors, G.W. was there. He was active in civic parades and placing flags on veteran’s graves on Memorial Day.

G.W. was a 2009 White Pigeon Citizen of the Year. G.W. and Nora welcomed two Youth for Understanding exchange students into their home, Anna Vandirwee of Belgium and Alfonzo “Fonzie” Oliver of Chile. Anna and Fonzie still keep in contact with the Fords. When some students needed housing while attending Glen Oaks Community College, then located at White Pigeon High School, G.W. and Nora shared their home. G.W. and his wife mentored several young people over the years and provided a positive direction to their lives.

G.W. was a role model and fatherly figure to many. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends.

Memorial contributions may be made to the White Pigeon Methodist Church, 204 N. Kalamazoo St., White Pigeon, MI 49099 or to the White Pigeon American Legion Post 138, P.O. Box 293, White Pigeon, MI 490-99. Donation envelopes are available at the funeral home.

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