Jack Ford: RemembrancesWritten by Staff Reports | | email@example.com
“It is with great sadness that we learn Toledo City Councilman and former Mayor John Jack Ford has passed away on March 21. His loss leaves our community as well as his family with great sadness.
Toledo not only lost a great Councilman and former mayor, but a past state representative, House minority leader, Council president, dedicated public servant, father and grandfather. Our city will deeply mourn his loss.
It is with compassion that we remember Jack Ford passed away doing what he loved, serving the people of this great city. In all his time as a public servant, John Jack Ford fought for equality, health care and access to the basic needs for our citizens. We give our hearts and our thoughts to his family and friends during this time.”
— Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson
“Jack was a shrewd politician who knew how to reach across the aisle and engage allies to accomplish his political objectives. He would often tell me to make sure you ‘count the votes’ when trying to move a piece of legislation through the process.
He had an uncanny ability to know when to compromise and when to stand his ground. For instance, he knew that his stand on the smoking ban would not be popular, but his vision told him that others would follow the City of Toledo’s lead. He held his ground on the issue and Toledo was one of the first cities in Ohio to enact a smoking ban. (The State of Ohio ultimately followed.) Also, because of Jack’s vision and leadership, Toledo’s CareNet program model was a forerunner of the U.S. Affordable Care Act.
Jack was one of the few politicians in Toledo’s history who truly understood that the best way to revitalize an underserved community economically was to give members of those communities a “fair shot” at public contracts. I remember him holding a one-person press conference opposing the construction of the Mud Hens stadium unless they were willing to include minorities during its construction phase and committing to hire minorities after its completion. As mayor, a centerpiece of his platform was to include more minorities and women in the City of Toledo’s contracting process. He felt so strongly about this issue of fairness that he was willing to risk his political career over it. Many believe he lost his mayoral re-election bid largely because of this issue. He continued to challenge the status quo on this issue in other political positions he held after being mayor.”
— Jay Black Jr., President, Toledo African American Chamber of Commerce
“Jack Ford has been my very close friend for 35 years. Although we ran against each other for mayor in 2005, once that election was over our friendship resumed and got stronger. As able a community leader as Jack was, I considered him to be much more a friend than a fellow politician. I will miss him as a friend very much.”
— Former Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Toledo City Councilman and former Toledo Mayor Jack Ford — a public servant I have known for over 35 years.
Some will remember him as a fine mayor for the City of Toledo. I choose to remember him as a person whose life’s vocation was to help all people. Jack was a politician and politics can be a rough game. But Jack always seemed to take the high road, even at the end when it came time to name a new president for Toledo City Council.
There were those he helped along the way who turned their backs and did not support him. I am proud to say I was not one of those.
I wish to express my condolences to Jack’s family. He left his mark on our world and he will be missed.”
— Theresa Gabriel, Toledo City Councilwoman At Large
“I have numerous remembrances of Jack Ford. Three that stand out are:
1. How he organized the first 12-member City Council under the strong mayor form of government. He told us, ‘District members better listen to your constituents and perform or lose re-election. You are closer to them than we at large.’
2. He grew up in Springfield, Ohio, and my wife Elaine and I graduated from Wittenberg University in Springfield, so we shared a special bond there and had numerous conversations about his hometown.
3. While he was mayor working through the smoking ban legislation together, there were many meetings and harsh words, but Council, with Jack’s direction, passed it unanimously. Soon after, the entire state banned smoking in public places, much for the betterment of public health.”
— Rob Ludeman, Toledo City Councilman At Large
“I am so sorry to hear of [former] Mayor Jack Ford’s passing. I send my condolences to his wife Cynthia and their whole family. Jack was a caring public servant throughout his life, a statesman. We will all miss him.”
— Sandy Drabik, widow of Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins
“It is with a heavy heart that I extend my deepest sympathy to the Ford family: his wife Cynthia, his children, and his friends and associates. Our community and citizenry holds an abiding gratitude for his lifetime of dedicated and honorable service to us. He was one of a kind.
Mayor Jack Ford gave his life, decade after decade, to our entire community. As newly elected president of Toledo City Council, he just kept the beat of the city close to him. With every step, he directed himself to move our community and America forward.
He made history. As an educator, health professional and political activist, Mayor Ford became the very first African-American mayor elected in Toledo. He served in the state legislature and understood the interconnections of our city to the world beyond it. His knowledge was hard-earned and unique. With his election as mayor, he elevated our community to a more inclusive and progressive place. He made us proud. Jack was all business. He always demonstrated a hands-on, can do attitude.
He was a master of the city budget and directed his administration to make long-neglected improvements.
Even when not feeling well, he carried forward his duties in a soldierly and persevering manner, earning respect from all who knew him.
I particularly appreciated his genius and wry sense of humor. He never missed a beat. Our entire region has benefited from his generous and focused life on behalf of others.
May the angels carry him to a place of peace and rest. He has been truly a good, faithful and honorable servant.”
— Rep. Marcy Kaptur