Thursday, March 02, 2006

Legacies


Thanks to all the regular readers of my blog who sent email commentaries about my trip to Pennsylvania. If I have any sort of legacy, it's that my friends and relatives love me and I am delighted to love them back. My Pennsylvania relatives may be embarrassed that I brag about them, but they are the main reason I have such fondness for State College, Penn State, and the Keystone State in general.

One thing all Ford and Sanow descendents have in common is a strong work ethic tempered with energy and humor. And they tend to marry spouses who are gifted and humorous too. The patriarch of this clan, Don Ford, came to Penn State from Kansas State University in the era of Milton Eisenhower. Don was awarded his PhD at Penn State and later developed a new college of Human Development. He is retired now, Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus of Human Development. Despite his many accomplishments, Don's roots remain firmly planted in the Kansas plains from which he sprang. He still enjoys the scent of fertile earth and tending growing things. He works the soil now just like he did in boyhood. This man who educated himself and exerted positive influence on generations of students has the same boyish energy and sturdy core he had 60 years ago. I appreciate that.

Don's wife, Carol, has quietly asserted her own impact throughout the years. Profits from her craft business, The Personal Touch, went to fund needed services such as Meals on Wheels and health services for those who might not afford health care otherwise. It's safe to say that the effects of her benevolence are still rippling outward in State College, Centre County, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, although she is now officially retired. Her legacy is of equal importance to Don's, just took a different form.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, their first born Russell Ford has accomplishments of his own. Russell will give the commencement address at Penn State this Spring. With classic Ford humility, he wondered why anyone would consider him accomplished. What sort of legacy did HE have to offer, was his question. His brother Doug laughed at that ingenuous question and said, "Good grief, Brother! You've been instrumental in systematically renovating downtown Harrisburg one building at a time for more than 20 years! What greater legacy could a man want?" There's that Ford humor again, and the ability to zero in on the truth. And Russell's wife Barb is a stylish businesswoman now that their children are adults.

So now you know a brief bit about my Pennsylvania relatives. Don and Carol, Russell and Barb, Doug and Pam. Their son Martin and wife Sheri live in Virginia and son Cameron and wife Gricel live in Florida so I did not have the opportunity to spend time with them. Maybe another time. My next blog will be a change of pace and a surprise so stay tuned.

1 comment:

Josh said...

Wow, Uncle Don looks like Herb Ford. I haven't seen him or Carol since I was a young boy :o)

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I enjoy good writing by writers and poets who are not famous. My mother said I was born a hundred years too late. The older I get, the more I realize how right she was.

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