Rev. Alan Ford of Russellville, formerly of Newport, departed this life on Saturday, July 18, 2020, at the age of 80. He was born May 15, 1940, in London, England, during a World War II air raid, the only son of Richard and Violet (Williams) Ford.
On July 27, 1963, Alan Ford married Roxanne Patricia Stilwell, and together they enjoyed 32 years, raised three children, and were dearly loved members of the Newport community.
Rev. Ford grew up in London, England during World War II. He often spoke of the kindness the Americans bestowed upon him and his family. He served both in the Royal Navy, and the United States Army, where he was part of the Southern European Task Force.
Rev. Ford attended St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1966 and worked for Eastman Kodak in Rochester as a financial analyst. He later attended Austin Theological Seminary, where he graduated in 1978. Rev. Ford was ordained on July 18, 1978.
Rev. Ford came to Newport in 1978, and became not only the pastor of First Presbyterian Church but became “Newport’s Pastor”. During his 35 years at First Presbyterian, Rev. Ford performed many baptisms and officiated numerous weddings and funerals. His door was always open to anyone needing spiritual guidance, counsel, or just a kind word. Rev. Ford attended as Commissioner at the Synod of the Sun in 1985 and served as a moderator in 2006. While pastoring in Newport, he served as Moderator of Arkansas Presbytery in 1999, then as Regional Moderator for a five-state area. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Lyon College at Batesville.
Rev. Ford was a beloved member of the Newport community and contributed greatly to its betterment. He served on City Council and was a staunch supporter of local ministerial alliance, and the Jackson County Christian Health Clinic. Rev. Ford was Vice President of the Jackson County Historical Society and served on the Society’s Board of Directors.
This humble man has served as the quiet voice of reason in many a troubled day and was always an advocate of brotherly love, generosity, and kindness. Rev. Ford was Newport’s minister, and during his days there, he ministered to the lost, gave strength to the weak, prayed with the dying, and showed Christian love to all who appeared on his doorstep. He was a humble, compassionate, giving soul, who always placed others before himself. He had a sweet, gentle spirit and an unwavering love of the Lord.
Rev. Ford was preceded in death by his wife, Roxanne Patricia (Stilwell) Ford on May 15, 1996; and his parents.
He is survived by three children, Scott Alan Ford and wife, Angela of Jonesboro, Jill Ford of Miramar Beach, Fla., and Debbie Ford Williams and husband, Jerry, of Russellville; five grandchildren, Faith Ford Riley, Christian Ford, Joshua Williams, Kirstie Williams, Maegan Ford and Lauren Ford; as well as a lifetime of grateful friends.
Friends may visit at First Presbyterian Church Thursday morning, 10:00 a.m. until noon. Funeral services are Thursday, July 23, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Newport.
Those honored to serve as pallbearers are Jerry Williams, Christian Ford, John Watson, John Pennington, Marvin Hare, and Joey DuPree.
Memorials may be made to Arkansas Hospice, River Valley Home, 220 John Babish Lane, Russellville, AR 72801 or First Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 664, Newport, AR 72112.