|Ted Ford, who was killed in an auto accident March 24, with his daughters dressed up in their Ohio State University shirts, from left, Megan, Kelley, Danielle and Ashley. A fund to help with the girls’ education has been set up at Kemba Bank.|
Life as we know it can change forever in just a millisecond.
That is exactly what happened to the Ted Ford family of Whitehall when he was taken from them in a tragic accident in the early morning hours of March 24.
The 35-year-old husband and father of four was driving on I-270 to his job at Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Obetz, where he was a loader. Another young man heading to his job at Target was traveling in the opposite direction, when his vehicle veered across the interstate crashing head-on into Ford’s vehicle. It is believed the young man fell asleep at the wheel.
Ford, affectionately known as Teddy to family and friends, was a devoted family man, whose life revolved around his wife, Karen; their four daughters, Ashley, 10; Kelley, 8; Danielle, 2; Megan, three months; and his mother, Judy Ford, with whom they reside. Teddy and Karen would have celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary April 30.
He also left a sister, Pamela, who is now planning her wedding without the brother she was so very close to.
The Theodore Michael Ford Daughters Educational Fund has been established at Kemba Bank on Broad Street to assist the family. Fundraisers in the community to assist the family will be announced in coming weeks.
Ford graduated from Whitehall Yearling High School in 1991 where he played football, sang in the high school choir and was a stand-up comedian in the high school’s cabaret.
His father, Chester Theodore Ford, was a scout leader, and his son followed in his footsteps. In 1988 he made Eagle Scout, and was a scout leader for his two older daughter’ troops.
Karen said that he kept hoping for at least one boy, but he kept getting daughters. That was fine by him, however. He adored them. He was waiting for a friend’s little boy to get old enough to go into scouts, because he was anxious to help him.
He had a second job at Home Watch, a caregiving service where he assisted two people in wheelchairs, taking them on errands and to doctor appointments.
Messenger photo by Dianne Garrett
The Ford family from left: Ted’s sister, Pamela; mom, Judy, holding three-month old Megan; Ashley, 10, holding Danielle, 2; and wife, Karen, holding Pepsi the poodle.
Karen and Teddy met in 1992 when they both worked at Meijer. She had just lost a brother, and he took an interest in consoling her. They became close friends, which led to dating, and marriage in 1995.
When they first got serious, they exchanged class rings. He was wearing hers the day he died. He always wore it, even when buddies at work made fun of him. Karen buried him with it.
He loved to cook, and was the chef of the family. Kelley noted that her favorite dishes he made were chicken and lasagna.
Judy laughed when she recalled, "He made about 30 pumpkin rolls a year, especially at Christmas. He would have his own assembly line going. When he started, you stayed out of the kitchen."
He gave them to his church, Eastview United Methodist Church, for dinners, and to people as gifts.
Ashley and Kelley said that he loved his computer and music. He took his laptop everywhere he went, and had 6,000 songs downloaded. His favorites were country and music from the 1980s. But his very favorite song was Jimmy Buffett’s "Cheeseburger In Paradise."
Karen recalled that they only had two arguments the entire time knew each other. He loved surprising her whenever possible with flowers or things that she just would never guess he would think of. He took his wife to see George Jones eight times and Alabama twice. She loves Garth Brooks, and wanted to badly to see him, but had trouble getting tickets.
He came home one day with two tickets that cost $200 a piece. She said that she didn’t know how he did it, but that is the kind of thoughtful husband he was.
"That was the best night I’ve ever had! He just could never tell me or the kids no."
They had only been apart twice, and that was when she had to be gone for her family’s needs.
The family enjoyed NASCAR together, the OSU Buckeyes, movies, playing games, camping, scouting and bowling. Teddy made sure all his girls had OSU shirts.
On Easter Sunday the Fords went to early church services and the church breakfast. They came home to a day of playing games and watching videos.
Judy was the cook for the day, and prepared a big dinner. Teddy only took Sundays off for special occasions. Easter was one of those, and Judy insisted he take the day off from cooking and enjoy playing with his family.
Monday morning when the alarm went off, he told Karen that he just didn’t want to go to work that day. But he did anyway.
He told her to stay in bed and get some more rest before the children got up. The last thing they said to one another was "I love you."