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Wallace Roy Ford


November 28, 2020

Wallace Roy Ford (Wally) died peacefully at the age of 83 on November 28th, 2020 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Wally was born April 7, 1937 in Walnut, IL, the first son of Roy and Evelyn Ford. Because his father was a chaplain in the military, the family lived in several places through the end of WW II: Dixon, IL, Tonopah, NV, Tacoma, WA, and Worthington, MN. After the war, the family moved to Hereford, TX, where Wally learned to sail on Buffalo Lake, an activity he loved throughout his life and later traced back to his ancestors from Appeldore, England and Prince Edward Island, Canada. In 1952, his family moved to his beloved Albuquerque, NM. Wally graduated from Highland High School in 1955 and went on to attend Texas Christian University (TCU) in Ft. Worth, TX, receiving a BA in English/Philosophy. He later enrolled in Brite Divinity School in Ft. Worth, where he graduated with honors (Theta Phi) in 1962. In 1961, he married Valerie Laine Brown of Dallas, TX. After their graduations, they lived in Geneva, Switzerland while Wally attended a University of Geneva program at the Ecumenical Institute.

Upon returning to the US, Wally and Valerie moved to La Porte, TX where Wally was the pastor of the La Porte Community Church. While living there, their first child, Tara Chantelle, was born in 1965. During this time, he was also a volunteer firefighter. In 1967, the young family moved to Boulder, CO where Wally was a pastor at the First Christian Church. Their second child, Christopher Wallace was born in 1967. Wally also continued his education and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Iliff School of Theology, Denver in the late ‘70s. Wally served as pastor in Boulder until 1982.

Wally moved back to Albuquerque, NM in 1983, working as the Executive Secretary of the New Mexico Conference of Churches until his retirement in 2000. During his retirement he joined with Valerie to create The RedWing Institute, a consulting service; he also developed the Stewards of Creation training program and was a founding partner in Alternatives: Professional Dispute Resolution. In addition during his retirement years he served on several Boards, was faculty for the Master for Theological Studies program of the Ecumenical Institute for Ministry, and was the interim director of the NM Center for Dispute Resolution. He was most recently a founder of the New Mexico Elder Mediation Network, an informal association of skilled mediators.

Wally is survived by his soul-companion and wife, Valerie Laine Ford; his daughter Tara Chantelle Ford and her husband, Steven Adelsheim and their children: Erin, Julia, Kadel and Zoe; his son Christopher Wallace Ford and his children: Camden and Bennett. And by his loving siblings Doug Ford and his wife, Jane Mueller; and Marlyn Gibbs and her children: Tasha Gibbs and Tyson Gibbs, and great grand nephew, Evan. And by his sister in-law, Karen Wheatley and her husband, Gene Wheatley.

Wally was grateful beyond words for a full, abundant life. He was deeply proud of living almost all of his life in the great Southwest, where the story of creation is so visibly present in the variegated texture of the landscape. His life was centered around his life partner, Valerie, with whom he shared victories of the heart and spirit. His life was deeply enriched by his children, grandchildren and siblings, as well as many dear friends who he cherished as family. He always saw the unique gifts of others and firmly believed that together we could choose to be part of a beloved community. He was a kind and wise spiritual guide and mentor to many. We hope that you will remember Wally with a twinkle in his blue eyes, a smile on his face, and as a loving rebel for social justice.

Like so many families, we are deeply saddened that we cannot be physically together during this time of mourning. We invite you to share your memories of Wally here: In lieu of flowers, Memorial gifts may be made to the Wallace and Valerie Ford Fund of the New Mexico Community Foundation.