On October 8, 2011, our dear SARE colleague and friend, Dr. Paula Ford, passed away peacefully.
Paula Bridgid Ford was born on May 20, 1964 in Syracuse, New York. She spent the majority of her childhood and adolescence in the far western suburbs of Chicago. With her mother and younger brother, she moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she graduated from high school in 1982. Paula graduated with honors from Clemson University in 1987 with a B.S. degree in Agronomy. She completed her M.S. in soil science at The University of Georgia in 1989 and received her doctorate in human nutrition from Kansas State University in 2009. In 1992, Paula married Dr. William L. Hargrove, currently director of The Center for Environmental Resource Management at UTEP. Her son, Paul Leonard Hargrove, a junior at Coronado High School in El Paso, was born in 1994.
From 1991-1997 Dr. Ford served as the Program Coordinator for the Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. She was the North Central Region SARE Professional Development Program Coordinator at Kansas State University for 11 years (1999-2009), and supported sustainable agriculture and SARE for more than 20 years. Dr. Ford's passion for science-based research, coupled with her work in sustainable agriculture led to her pursuit of a doctorate in Human Nutrition, which she completed in the spring of 2009. She accepted the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in June 2009. She was honored in the spring of 2011 with the Outstanding Research and Performance Award from the College of Health Sciences. This work was completed while she was in active treatment for her cancer. Dr. Ford served in her position at UTEP until her death.
There will be memorial services in El Paso and Manhattan:
El Paso, TX - Monday, October 17, 11a.m., St. Francis on the Hill Episcopal Church, 6280 Los Robles Drive, reception following in church parish hall.
Manhattan, KS - Friday, October 28, 10:30a.m., First Congregational Church, 700 Poyntz Ave, Manhattan, reception following in church parish hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in Paula's name by donating to any of the following:
The Paula Ford Scholarship Fund for students in public health at UTEP; mail to the Paula Ford Scholarship Fund, UTEP Office of Institutional Advancement, Kelly Hall, 7th Floor, 500 University Ave., El Paso, TX 79968;
The Coronado High School Band Scholarship Fund; mail to Band Boosters, Coronado High School, 100 Champion Place, El Paso, TX 79912 (supports scholarships for high school band students at the high school that Paul attends);
The Paula Ford Memorial Fund for Social Ministries in Manhattan, KS; mail to First Congregational Church, 700 Poyntz Ave., Manhattan, KS 66502 (supports soup kitchens and other food programs and social ministries in Manhattan, KS).
Dr. Ford was instrumental in creating a vibrant and responsive Professional Development Program in the North Central Region that helped train and equip a new cadre of state sustainable agriculture educators across the region. Holding the program to high standards, she implemented outcome-based programming.
Dr. Ford provided leadership as SARE developed meaningful needs assessments and outcomes throughout the region's programs to ensure impact at the educator level. She was instrumental in developing evaluation standards for all the regions and the entire program.
To honor Dr. Ford's contributions to the SARE Professional Development Program, starting in 2012, one Professional Development Program funded project each year in the North Central Region will be given special designation as the "Paula Ford Professional Development Program Project of the Year." The region will select the project that best exemplifies Dr. Ford's contributions and passion for evaluation, professional development and/or science-based research.
Dr. Ford is survived by her son, Paul, husband, Bill and mother, Mary Anne, all of El Paso, as well as her father, Robin C. Ford and his wife Karin of Chandler, AZ. She is also mourned by her two brothers, Judge Nicholas Ford (Callie) of Chicago and Alexander C. Ford (Ariel) of Park City, Utah, and nieces, Hannah and Evangeline Ford. She was loved by her stepchildren, Anne Graham (Darrell) and Bob Hargrove (Laura), residing in Texas as well as Bill's parents, Anna Sue and Leonard Hargrove of Temple, Texas, and Bill's siblings, Bryan (Judy), and sister Sheri (Ken) and their children. She was preceded in death by maternal and paternal grandparents and her stepfather, Rev. Paul H. Bicknell. Connect with Paula's family and friends, make tributes, and sign their online guestbook.