, Newburyport, MA

May 10, 2013

'He was an exceptional man'

Brad Ford, longtime Amesbury resident and school employee, dies at 65

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — Brad Ford, who dedicated himself to the Amesbury School Department for more than a decade, died Wednesday following a long battle with esophageal cancer.

Ford, 65, was remembered by friends and colleagues yesterday for his easy-going nature and his engaging personality.

During his 13-year career in the school system, Ford served in a number of roles, starting as the truant officer and most recently serving as the high school’s director of facilities and transportation.

Amesbury High School Principal Roy Hamond, who worked with Ford in the school system for 12 years, said Ford was an indispensable figure who had a great rapport with students and that he was an inspiration to everyone who came to know him.

“He loved to have conversations,” Hamond said. “He loved to talk about the schools and the kids, and his interest was always with what was going on behind the schools. He was willing to help out wherever he could.”

Hamond recalled that Ford used to love to go outside when the weather was nice to mow the grass and get some fresh air, and as director of facilities, he would actively look for ways to help the school conserve fuel and electricity.

“Brad loved what he was doing,” Hamond said. “He never really wanted to retire, he just never gave up on anything.”

Superintendent Michele Robinson said Ford was one of the first people she met when she arrived in Amesbury, and added that he had a way about him where, if you knew that Ford was tending to a matter, that it would turn out OK in the end.

“He was an exceptional man, he was an integral part of our school community and family, and he is going to be terribly missed,” Robinson said.

Over the years Ford also served as head of the middle school building project and was a charter member of the Amesbury Academy’s Board of Directors. In December he was inducted into the Amesbury Educational Foundation, Inc.’s Hall of Honor as a Friend of Education.

AEFI’s Hall of Honor ceremony is usually held in May, but the decision was made to induct Ford early after his condition deteriorated and it was feared he might not make it much longer. The remainder of the Hall of Honor’s Class of 2013 will be inducted tonight, and a video commemorating Ford’s life and accomplishments shown at his ceremony will be presented again in his honor.

Born and raised in Dorchester, Ford first moved to Amesbury with his wife, Lee, in 1979, and over the next 34 years he fully immersed himself into the community. He was involved with the Chamber of Commerce, the Cub Scouts, and in the late 1990s he served on the Board of Health.

Ford joined the school system in 2000, where he remained until last November when he reluctantly retired after his health began to fail him.