Thomas Michael Ford, obituary

Posted:  Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - 3:45pm

HOPE — Thomas Michael Ford, 71, died unexpectedly on May 4, 2017 at his home. He was the loving husband of Nancy (Holbert) Ford.

Tom was born in Syracuse, New York, on December 26, 1945, the son of Leo and Corinne (Blanchette) Ford. He attended Winchester (Mass.) High School, and graduated from Saint Michael’s College (1968) and Suffolk University Law School (1974).

When Tom arrived to Maine in 1979, he had already sampled several career paths: the Navy, teaching in Boston, lifeguarding on Cape Cod, ski patrolling, tennis pro on Martha’s Vineyard, working in a law office in Wellington, New Zealand, participating in a Shelter Institute homebuilding course, and skippering an old wooden sailboat from Massachusetts and Maine to Chesapeake Bay.

After working briefly in home construction, the Damariscotta River Estuary Project and the Mid-Coast Planning Commission, Tom zeroed in on local town government. He began initially with the Town of Union, followed by the Town of Rockport, as a Planner in Community Development and Codes for 13 years, until his retirement in 2013.

Tom and Nancy designed and built their home on a blueberry field in Hope. Initially, they lived in a tent on site, where they shared many lovely sunrises and sunsets with a 360 degree view. They raised their children, Jen and Dan, in this special spot, and Tom became involved with Hope Elementary School sports and local government in Hope, as well as blueberries.

He served on the Hope Board of Appeals for 30 years, the Board of Selectmen in the early 1990s, was annual town meeting Moderator for 15 years, Ordinance Review Committee chair for 3 years, Mid-Coast Solid Waste Corp Board of Directors member for 5 years and Chairman of that board most recently. Tom also volunteered on the Comprehensive Plan Committee, Conservation Commission, Recreation Committee in Hope and True Park Planning Committee. He was the alternate Code Enforcement Officer for Hope from 1999-2008, and Interim Code Enforcement Officer in 2016.

In retirement, Tom enjoyed having more time to spend as an avid vegetable and flower (Master) gardener. Recently he was especially enthused about his garlic crop. He also became involved with the Restorative Justice Program, renovations of the Hope Historical Society Home, St Paul’s No. 82 Masons, and the Penobscot Bay YMCA Board of Directors.

Tom had a lifelong passion for sports, both as a player and coach. Back in the mid 1950s, where he lived, there were no organized teams until high school, and he often recalled the “good old days,” when kids went out into their neighborhood and created a pick-up game of basketball, football, baseball, or ice hockey. He coached both girls' and boys' basketball between 1993-2017 at Hope Elementary School, starting with his daughter's and son’s teams, and continuing long after they had both graduated from HES. He enjoyed instructing and helping each player (also in soccer and baseball) to improve and reach his or her individual potential, all while having fun.

He was known as a left-handed pitcher and one of the oldest players in the Camden Adult Coed Softball league.  He also participated in pick-up, lunch-time basketball games at the Penobscot Bay YMCA and Waldo County YMCA, where he played several days a week, right up until his death. He enjoyed the camaraderie, competition and strategy of both games. His motto as a coach at HES was “Finish Strong,” and it gives his family comfort to know that he was able to do just that.

Predeceased by his parents, Tom is survived by his wife Nancy; daughter Jennifer Ford Hardman and husband Patrick of Encinitas, California; son Daniel Jefferson Ford of Hope; sisters, Mary (Steve) Nugent of Barrington, Rhode Island; Kathryn Wiehe of Ferret Mapou, Mauritius; grandchildren, Finley Hope Hardman and Waylon Ford Hardman of Encinitas, California; 8 nieces, 2 nephews, cousins, and many special friends and teammates.

If friends so choose, donations in Tom’s memory may be made to: Penobscot Bay YMCA Windjammer Youth Basketball Program, c/o Troy Curtis, Director, 116 Union St., Rockport, ME 04856.

A Celebration of Life for Tom will be held at 1pm, Saturday, September 9, 2017 at True Park, Church St., Hope.

Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 9 Mountain St., Camden, ME 04843.