Charles Allen Ford, PhD passed away August 10, 2013 with his wife and children at his bedside. Born July 13, 1934 in New Orleans, LA, he was the youngest of three sons of William G. and Agnes Wille Ford. At the age of ten, he moved with his family to Navasota, Texas when his father took early retirement from the railroad so that he might fulfill the dream of returning to his roots and owning a farm. Consequently, Charles converted from a street-car and bicycle riding boy to a horseback and tractor-riding one while his mother courageously and successfully transitioned from a city bred woman to a farm wife.
A graduate of Navasota High School, Charles entered Texas A&M in 1952. Receiving his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 1956, he earned among other academic honors, membership in Tau Beta Pi. Upon completing his master of engineering degree in 1958, followed by a brief teaching experience at Lamar University in Beaumont, he entered the doctoral program in engineering mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin. It was during this time that he met Eleanor Katherine Perry who became his wife on June 10, 1962 at Grace United Methodist Church in Hearne. After making their first home in Austin where they welcomed their first-born, they moved to Beaumont where Charles resumed teaching and where they welcomed their next two children.
In 1968, Charles left academia to begin a career in the aerospace industry joining Lockheed-Martin in Dallas where he became a ‘rocket scientist’ in the company’s missiles and space division. The family made their home in Arlington where they welcomed the youngest child and where all the children entered and completed their education in the neighborhood schools and grew to adulthood.
Always maintaining a love for the farm, Charles realized his dream and bought a farm in Calvert in 1980. The family spent many weekends there and Charles continued to enjoy the farm in retirement. In 2007, Charles and Eleanor pulled up roots in Arlington to make their home in Bryan/College Station to be near their childhood homes and the farm.
A devoted and protective husband, father, and grandfather, Charles is survived by his wife Eleanor, his children Katherine Stewart and husband Brad or Rockford, Illinois; Charles P Ford and wife Kimberly of Houston; Jane Guenther and husband Klaus of San Antonio; and son John W. (Will) Ford of Arlington. The eight grandchildren include Hayden, Ethan, and Harrison Stewart; Reiner, Katja, and Johanna Guenther; and Andrew and Audrey Kate Ford. His is also survived by brothers William G. Ford, Jr. and wife Louise of Bryan and Robert K. Ford of Boulder, Colorado as well as his mother-in-law Bessie Perry of Bryan and brother-in-law and sister-in-law John W. Perry, Jr. and Sheryl Perry of San Antonio. Also surviving are a several nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to express particular appreciation to the Hospice Brazos Valley for the care and compassion shown during Charles’s last hours.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that memorials be made to Hospice Brazos Valley (hospicebrazosvalley.org), to the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Brazos Valley, or to a charity of your choice.
A memorial service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brazos Valley, located at 305 Wellborn Rd. College Station at 2 PM on Saturday, August 17, 2013.