Yesterday morning, Easton town officials dedicated two signs that mark the former Rails-to-Trails park, which was renamed in memory of John F. Ford, the late Town of Easton Council’s president and staff member of the Chesapeake Museum Maritime Museum.
Ford, who was 67 when he died in February of 2020, had served 22 years on the Easton Town Council and 15 years as its president.
The ceremony, which was attended by over 50 guests, included members of Ford’s family: wife, Peggy, son Ben, wife Kate Livie along with their newborn, and Ford’s brothers and sister. Also in attendance were Town Mayor Bob Willey, Director of Parks and Rec, Lorraine Gould, Town and County officials, and representatives from the following organizations: Avalon Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, Chesapeake Forum, Easton Economic Development, Frederick Douglass Honor Society, Historic Cemeteries of Easton, and Plastic-Free Easton.
Standing in front of the town provided sign before the ceremony began, Mayor Willey said: “It’s nice that we can recognize people who’ve done some things for the town that become part of the life and the history of the town. And it’s also nice that we have some places where we can keep these people recognized for life. This park is one of them. Since John Ford had so much to do with the park lights for the town of Easton outdoor activities, it’s fitting that we do this.”
Addressing the crowd, Lorraine Gould reminisced about how she and Ford would sit on a park bench and talk. “I felt like anything I wanted to say to him,” she said, “I could say and any advice he wanted to give, he gave it, and it was all in good faith.”
Peggy Ford expressed her appreciation to those who took the time to honor her husband. She showed off a stool that her husband had built, saying, “When John would fix or make something, it was usually something useful, very sturdy, and long-lasting. So I think this park will be an asset to our community and bring people together because cool stuff can happen here.”
Current Council President Megan Cook said of her predecessor, “What a great testament to who Mr. Ford was and all that he did.”
The other commemorative sign located further down the park was built by John’s brother Thom and designed by sister Mary Ford with the words: Town Leadership Volunteerism Good Citizenry.
Two years ago, a tree was planted in honor of Ford at the same park. The plaque at the base of the tree reads: “In Loving Memory of John F. Ford; Council President; Easton Town Council Member; Husband, Father, Friend.” Today, all were in attendance.
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Val Cavalheri is a recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, having lived in Northern Virginia for the past 20 years. She’s been a writer, editor and professional photographer for various publications, including the Washington Post.