James "JB" Ford
Born prematurely in Brooklyn June 4, 1933 to parents James C. Ford and Amelia Berry, James Berry Ford survived infancy thanks to his mother’s determination and keeping him in a shoebox behind the wood stove to keep him warm whenever she wasn’t holding him. Jim, or JB, had the moral fortitude of a super hero set in the soft-spoken package of a perpetually optimistic, never-an-unkind-word-to-say, bowtie-wearing, derby-day’ing southern gentleman. The family returned to Somerset, Kentucky when JB was 12. High school class president and Eagle Scout, JB was also a “boy scout” in the colloquial sense- dependable, conscientious, and always doing a good deed. He completed his bachelor’s at the University of Kentucky and then enlisted in the Army in 1955, where he proudly did his duty for God and country. JB served two years in Korea, before becoming a reservist and soap salesman before transitioning to a very long career with Proctor & Gamble, where he went from managing supplies to becoming a preeminent financial advisor. He continued as an advisor in a private firm long after “retirement”, working until his dying day. A brilliant conversationalist and Toastmaster, JB had a prodigious memory for detail and applied his thoughts simply and approachably- he had that unassuming way about him. He understood the darker side of human nature, pain and tragedy, and yet he remained undeterred and undimmed by it, always putting compassion before even self-preservation. A great champion of women, racial equality, economic and social justice, JB was a century ahead of his times. He was quick with a joke or to laugh at his own expense, and took Graeter’s ice cream far more seriously than he took himself. Come evening, you’d find him in the kitchen with a glass of wine or gin and tonic, classical music on the stereo, preparing a gourmet meal. He loved food, not just eating it, or preparing it for those he loved, but the whole process. He loved a sharp knife and the perfectly julienned pepper it sliced, just the right amount of capers in a salad, or shucking the prettiest silver-queen corn he found at the farmers’ market. The little things in life were the ones he savored. In 1960, JB married Harriett DeGeer- a smart and spirited woman, with three children (Raleigh DeGeer Amyx, Robert DeGeer Amyx and Roxanne DeGeer Amyx) and twenty years his senior. JB was devoted to all, especially to Robert’s care and rehab through chronic illness, helping him to walk again. For 54 years, Harriett and JB’s unconventional marriage was one of tenderness and uncommon respect- a meeting of the minds and souls. JB was her rock, and they were each other’s light. Preceded in death by his loving wife, there is solace in knowing his mourning has ended. JB passed away March 6, 2018 at the age of 84. He leaves behind five generations of adoring family; including his sister Sarah (Toni) Cole, nephews Bradley and Ronald Allen, niece Marsha Allen Saunders; Raleigh and his wife Hilda Amyx; grandchildren Valerie Lester, Michele Amyx, Cheryl Amyx-Morehouse and Shane Amyx; granddaughters and medics- Dr. Anne Foster and Tammi Foster, RN (by marriage to James Foster), granddaughters Elizabeth and Katherine Russell, great-granddaughter Cristel Orrand, and dozens of great- and great-great grandchildren, nieces and nephews he loved uniquely; and more lifelong friends than can be counted. He also leaves behind the singular and extraordinary legacy of being the first person to go to his final rest without a single unkind word ever said or said about him. He was admired and leaned on by all. He devoted his life to perfecting unconditional love, and then gave it freely to anyone in need. Rest in peace, dear JB, and thank you for your lifetime of love and service. A veteran's service only (no visitation) will be conducted at Kentucky Veteran's Cemetery North (205 Eilbeck Lane, Williamstown, KY, 41097) March 14th, at 2pm. Donations can be made in memory of JB Ford to Campbellsville University, 1 University Drive, Campbellsville, KY, 42718. Ronald B. Jones Funeral Home is serving the family. Online condolences to www.ronaldbjones.com.