Obituary of Helen Louise Ford
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Helen Louise Ford, 82 of Tega Cay, South Carolina, passed away peacefully on March 4th, 2023, surrounded by her family. Helen was born in Philadelphia, PA on July 18th, 1940, to Theodore and Helen Nordeman. She was the oldest of 4 daughters. Her family moved to Fresno, California where she attended high school and was the proud head majorette of Fresno High School Marching Band class of 1958. She would meet the love of her life Jesse Ford on a chance blind date, when Jesse’s friend showed him Helen’s majorette picture and asked; “Do you want to date this?”. Soon after, they were engaged and married on February 28th, 1959. They moved to San Diego where Jesse served in the US Navy and where they had their first son, Jeff in 1960. After Jesse was discharged from the Navy, they moved to San Jose’, California. There, the family grew adding twin sons, Joey and Jerry and soon after, son Jon. In 1968, their family was complete with the arrival of their daughter, Judy (Lang). Helen was convinced the delivery room was pink that day. That same year, Jesse graduated from San Jose State with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. In 1969 Helen and Jesse moved to Simi Valley, California. Once all her children were enrolled in school, Helen followed Jesse’s lead and enrolled in college, where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree by taking one to two classes at a time at Moorpark College and then Cal State Northridge. In 1980, Helen and Jesse sold his electronics business resulting in a family move across country to Tega Cay, South Carolina. Helen transferred her education to Winthrop University and in 1980 she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education at the age of 40. Helen loved learning and would spend her summers taking courses to later attain a master’s degree in Counseling while teaching 7th and 8th graders Earth Science. She was a beloved Science Teacher at Rawlinson Road Middle School, in Rock Hill, SC for over 20 years. Her passion for learning did not stop in the classroom. She spent part of her summers attending education programs at institutions such as Harvard and NASA. She loved sharing the science and astronomy she learned with her students by hosting “star parties” at the local planetarium. Helen was a loving Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Sister, Aunt and Friend. As “Mom” she shuttled her 5 kids to sports practice, music lessons, art classes, scouts and even camping trips, in the family Motor Home. The Motor Home was the center of Ford Family activities and Helen would frequently take the kids and their friends to the beach, camping trips and one year drove 9 kids from Simi Valley CA to Lake Tahoe, CA for wrestling camp. She made sure to teach her boys, who were all wrestlers, to dance and twirl a baton! Helen was predeceased by her father, Theodore Nordeman, mother Helen Louise Nordeman-Palmer (Dooley), sisters Anne Myers and Teddy Duvall and her son Jon Mark Ford. Helen is survived by her loving husband of 64 years, Jesse Carl Ford, sons Jeff Ford (Julie) of Columbia, SC, Joe Ford (Foy) of Pawleys Island, SC, Jerry Ford (Allison) of Modesto, California, daughter Judy Lang (Dale) of Lexington, SC, and her sister Rita Podzimek. She has 14 Grandchildren Jessica, Randall, Erin, Michael, Ted, Kristen, Katie, Jonathan (J.C.), Jordan, Kendall, Sarah-Grace, Emily, Avery, and Lily and great-grandchildren Julia, Ethan, Lorelai, Jaelyn, Nathan, Emma, Kaia and one on the way. Helen also has many beloved nieces, nephews and dear lifelong friends. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you hug someone you love and learn something new every day of your life in honor of Helen’s passion for learning. The Family will make arrangements for a memorial service and a celebration of life. The place, time and date to be announced at a later date.
A Memorial Tree was planted for Helen
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Graham Funeral Home
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1940 - 2023
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