Charles "Dick" Ford served as our pastor from 1953-1956. He was a student minister from the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. These photos were from a photo album that the church presented to Dick and JoAnn Ford on Christmas, 1954. Their daughter, Debbie Jones, graciously loaned these photos to us in January 2017.
Dick Ford was born to Charles Eaton and Gladys Richardson Ford on October 3, 1924 in Des Moines, Iowa. After the death of his mother when he was six, his sister, Marian, father and step-mother relocated to the outskirts of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There he led a solitary life, pretending the corn stalks were soldiers that he could shoot down with his BB gun.
Dick wed his high school friend, JoAnn Harsha on July 20, 1944, while home on a seven day military leave. Prior to wedding JoAnn, he volunteered for parachute training at Fort Benning, Georgia. Dick was later assigned to the 542 Parachute Regiment as Staff Sgt. The unit moved to Camp McCall, North Carolina before being sent to Luzon, South Pacific to become part of the 11th Airborne Division, the first occupation forces to land at Atsugi Air Field, Japan. His eldest son, Richard Greg, was born while Dick was in Sendia, Japan.
After being discharged, they lived with a Quaker couple outside Annville, Pennsylvania where Dick attended Lebanon Valley College. Upon graduation, he completed O.C.S. at Fort Benning, Georgia. Assigned to 3rd Armored Division, Fort Knox, Kentucky, he completed for and was awarded a Regular Army Commission. In 1950 he was sent to Korea, where he volunteered to serve in the 187th Airborne RCT to requalify as a combat parachutist, assigned to "G" Company 2nd Battalion as a platoon leader. He was awarded the Silver Star for leading a Soyang River crossing in North Korea. Dick's unit was sent to Beppu, Kyushu, Japan where he served as adjutant under General William Westmoreland. His wife and son, Greg, joined him for one year at Camp Chickamauga.
Because of the Korean battle, he resigned his Regular commission to enter seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where his second son, Douglas McClain, was born in 1953. He served as student pastor at Lexington, Indiana for 3 years.
Upon completing seminary, Dick and his wife and two sons relocated to Denver, Colorado where he and his wife served a church in north Denver for 14 years. Their daughter, Deborah Jo, was born shortly after their arrival in 1956.
In 1970, he was appointed Chaplain at Denver's Veteran's Hospital. He later became Chief of Chaplain until his retirement at the end of 1984. This was his most meaningful ministry; since he understood what it was like to be in battle.
During his ministry as Chief of Chaplains at the V.A. Hospital, Dick was quoted as saying, "My role in this hospital is not specifically to persuade people to accept religious beliefs. My job is basically to reinforce and support people in a time of crisis in their lives."
In 1981, Dick was the one employee in direct patient care who received the honored annual Hands and Heart Award for "consistent excellence in providing emotional support and spiritual guidance to hospitalized veterans and their families."
Dick returned to visit Lexington Presbyterian Church in December, 1987.
Dick passed away on May 12, 1993 and was buried in the Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado. His wife JoAnn, passed away on December 24, 2010 and was buried by his side. Although his tenure with us was a brief 3 years, it is easy to see from these treasured photographs of a young man and his growing family living in an unfamiliar area and changing times were dedicated to carry on the Word of the Lord and continue to minister to those old and young alike. The Ford Family helped to continue a legacy of faithful Presbyterians that has lasted two centuries in Lexington. We are forever indebted to them and their service.