Broward Schools pioneer expires at age 88
Dr. Samuel A. Ford, Jr. passed away on March 29, 2016 peacefully in his sleep at Big Bend Hospice House in Tallahassee, Fla. A native of Memphis, Tenn., Sam graduated from Douglas High School as class president. He then graduated from Tennessee State University in Nashville as a music major. Also a member of the TSU band, they received honors for a performance at Carnegie Hall in April 1949. He then served two years in the US Army during the Korean War, earning the rank of Sergeant.
In 1952, he immediately accepted the position as the first band director at Attucks High School in Dania, Fla. Many of his students were awarded full scholarships in music to the Florida A & M University (FAMU) band under the direction of Dr. Foster.
He met his wife of 62 years, Jerutha, in 1954. A fellow educator in Broward Schools, they began outstanding educational careers that lasted for a total of 85 years (43 and 42 years respectively). They continued their personal educational growth together earning Masters degrees from Florida Atlantic University, and Doctoral degrees from Nova Southeastern University. His positions included band director, social worker, middle and high school administrator and retiring as the Assistant to the South Area Superintendent in 1995.
His community involvement included State of Florida Ombudsman, North Broward Hospital District Commissioner (first Black), and State of Florida Mental Health Board of Commissioners, all governor appointed positions.
In August of 2004 the family relocated in their retirement to Tallahassee, Fla. His member-ships in the community included active participation in the Episcopal and later Catholic Churches in both Broward and Leon Counties. A life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (the last surviving member of the Charter Chapter in Broward), member of Tallahassee Chapter until his health failed. He was also an active Life Member of Broward County Chapter of Tennessee State University Alumni.
His legacy continues in his loving family: wife, Dr. Jerutha Williams Ford, two children, Monica Ford-Green and Samuel Scott Ford (Donna – de-ceased); four grand-children: Alana D. (Dr. Theo) Morgan II, Dr. Jason (Alexis) Ford-Green, Stephen (Tabitha) Ford-Green, and Samuel George Nichols; and ten great-grandchildren. Other family members include: one brother, the late Frank Pearson, two cousins, Albert (Christine) Lee, and Dorothy Brandon. Three sisters-in-law; Joyce Kennedy, Mary Jean (Willie) Brown, Rosa (Carlton – deceased) Williams. Three brothers-in-law: Dr. Gilbert (Evelyn) Williams, David (Althea) Williams, and Samuel (Alyce) Williams; and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.
As his illness progressed, he relentlessly continued his vocation of encouraging and counseling others, including all of his caregivers. Some of them still call to update him on their progress in school. An avid reader until the end, he stayed in touch with broward news by reading the Westside Gazette weekly.
Dr. Ford’s Wake included an Omega service by his Alpha brothers from both Broward and Leon counties on April 2, 2016. The Funeral Liturgy and Home-going Celebration services were held at Culley’s MeadowWood Funeral Home on Riggins Road. His entombment followed with military honors at Culley’s MeadowWood Memorial Park on Timberlane Road, in Tallahassee on April 3, 2016.
Because of his passion for and devotion to music and students of all ages, the family asks that in lieu of flowers, tax deductible donations can be made in Dr. Ford’s memory to either the FAMU Music Department (0119) through the FAMU Foundation, or, to the Tallahassee Boys’ Choir at their respective websites.