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Donald James Ford

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Donald James Ford passed away Aug. 9, 2017, at home surrounded by family and loved ones. Donald was born September 24, 1955 in El Paso, TX, to Russell B. Ford and Margie N. Ford. Don married his soulmate Ruth Harper on November 9, 1974 and they were sealed in the Temple of the Latter-Day Saints on April 29, 1980.
Don was a man who did it all, he started his career in public service as a mechanic for the Roswell Police Department in 1974. He transferred to the city animal control where he worked until he found his true calling in life. In 1981, Don joined the Roswell Fire Department where he became an EMT and eventually worked up the ranks to Lieutenant. Don was known as, “Big Daddy” around the Fire Department. He retired from Roswell Fire Department in 1997 but did not retire from the fire service. He rejoined the fire service by becoming a volunteer firefighter with the Sierra Fire Department in 1997. He became Chief of Sierra Fire Department in 2005. Under Chief Ford, Sierra added two new stations and grew to the largest volunteer fire department in Chaves County. Don also started working for the Roswell Independent School District as a teaching assistant where he worked for 20 years until his death. Donald started TLC pet cremation in 1997 and started a service the community desperately needed for all our pets. In 2000, Don started fighting wildland fires for the government from 2000 to 2016. Don travelled from Florida to Oregon and everywhere in between fighting fires. Every December, since 1992, Don would put on his Santa suit and go around making every child happy as Santa Claus. Don worked For Office of Medical Investigator for 10 years and owned and operated First Choice cleaning service for 12 years.
Don loved serving the people of his community. In June of 2014, he was honored with the Red Cross hero of the year for his fire service. He was an avid blood donor and donated gallons of blood over his lifetime. Don touched so many people’s lives and was a father-figure to so many. He had the amazing ability to make everyone feel like they were his best friend and most special person. He will be missed by everyone that knew him.
Don was preceded in death by his father, Russell B. Ford. Don is survived by his mother Margie N. Ford of Ft. Sumner, NM; his wife Ruth Ford of Roswell; his children Elaine Gadbury and her husband Michael of Roswell, son Matthew Ford and his wife Mandy of Roswell, Samuel Ford of Roswell, Aaron Ford and Kait Alley of Santa Fe, NM, Tyler Ford and his wife Brieanne of Roswell and Brittney Rubio and her husband Mike of Lubbock, TX; sisters Patricia Prenatt of Ely NV, and Marjory Rascon of Roswell; 9 grandchildren Audrey, Michael, Loretta, Rylan, Patricia, Charlene, Aydan, Ethan, Max and 1 on the way; great-grandson Apollo; and numerous nieces and nephews. It would be impossible to list all the people that loved Don and thought of him as a father, brother or mentor.

Rest now my fallen brother
Lay soft your suffering back.
Rest well and forever
Your memory shall not lack.

Rest your tired hands
Wipe clean your weary brow,
Rest with St. Florian
Your spirit now endowed.

Rest here your breaking heart
We know you gave your all,
Rest easy, you’ve done your part
You’ve answered your last call.

Rest knowing that in God we sought
Oh lord, watch over another who just fell
Rest assured your troubled thought
As we ring the final bell.

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Visitation will be held at Ballard Funeral Home on Monday August 14 from 8am to 5pm and on Tuesday August 15 from 8am to 4pm. The funeral service will be on Tuesday August 15 at 6pm at the Church of Latter-Days Saints located at 2201 W. Country Club Road in Roswell, NM. Immediately following the service Mr. Ford will make his final ride through town on the fire engine to Ballard Funeral Home. For anyone that would like to join the family in celebrating his life we will meet at Sierra station #1, 603 S. Brown Road, Roswell, NM, for food and happy memories following the service.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at ballardfuneralhome.com.