Malcolm J. Ford Sr.

Malcolm J. Ford Sr. was an educator who championed for the needs of his students

He died on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 of heart failure at Simpson House. He was 85.

He was born in Philadelphia and grew up in the Richard Allen Homes in North Philadelphia.

Ford is a graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School and a recipient of the school’s Outstanding Alumnus Award. He won an athletic scholarship to Shaw University, where he played football and baseball.

Ford obtained his bachelor’s degree from Shaw University in 1952. He earned his master’s degree in educational administration at Antioch University and principal certification at Penn State.

After working as an arc welder at Budd Company from 1952 to 1958, Ford began a 32-year career in the School District of Philadelphia.

Ford taught special education at Bryant School where he championed the needs and rights of his students.

“I used to tutor the kids in the basement of my home. I was very gung-ho and ambitious,” Ford said in a 1971 article in Philly Talk magazine. “I’m not a genius. Things come hard for me, so I can understand if other people have problems. The kids were talented. All they needed was for someone to bring it out.

“I decided that if I wanted my life to mean anything, I would work with the disadvantaged.”

Ford also taught at Stoddart-Fleisher and the Catto School, a disciplinary school where he later served as principal.

In the 1971 Philly Talk article, Ford said he used his athleticism to connect with the students through sports and his knowledge of their neighborhoods to problem solve when they came to school without breakfast or missed school because they had no shoes to wear.

“Whether he was teaching in the classroom or on the street corner, he always believed that education was a powerful means to self-improvement. At heart he was a teacher,” his son Darryl J. Ford said.

Ford was the director of the Philadelphia Office of the National Teacher Corps and director of the Career Opportunity Program in Philadelphia.

After retiring from the school district, Ford established the Ambiance Limousine Service.

Ford opened Heritage Shop, an antique shop at 6661 Germantown Ave. in 1969. He was a licensed auctioneer and worked as an appraiser. He enjoyed buying and flipping artwork. Ford was known for his generous nature and his love of antiques and athletics.

He was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

He is survived by his wife Edith T. Ford; sons Malcolm Jr. (Kathy) and Darryl J. Ford (Gail Sullivan); grandsons Malcolm, Joshua, Jameson and Lucas and other relatives and friends.

Services were held on Nov. 1 at St. Paul’s Baptist Church, 10th and Wallace Streets.

Williams & Palmer Funeral Home handled the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Malcolm and Edith Ford Scholarship Fund, at William Penn Charter School, 3000 West School House Lane, Philadelphia., PA. 19144.

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