James Ira “Jim” Ford, Jr., formerly of Pascagoula, MS, passed away on April 7, 2022 in Melbourne, Florida where he and his wife of 34 years, Sandra “Sandy” Lee Parsons Ford, had resided for the past 5 years. Jim was born in Pascagoula, MS on October 24, 1940, graduated from Pascagoula High School and Perkinston (now MS Gulf Coast Community College). While attending the University of Southern Mississippi, his Naval Reserve Unit was activated during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He returned to USM where he graduated with a B.S. degree in Economics. He attended the New School in New York City and afterward joined the US Merchant Marine, which included service during the Vietnam War. His last employment at sea was with Lykes Brothers Steamship Company, Inc., after which he came ashore to join the Pascagoula Bar Pilots Association.
In his quiet way, Jim had a lifelong passion for the sea. When quite young, he articulated his desire to someday sail around the world on his own vessel. In 1987, two years after his retirement, Jim and Sandy began fulfilling his dream by embarking on a 43-foot Ketch, the WINDROSE. Twelve years later, after circumnavigating the globe one and a half times, they came ashore and enjoyed a life of fishing, boating, gardening, and rebuilding their home in Pascagoula that had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Jim was a beloved husband, brother, uncle, friend, and colleague. Although he was the middle child in the family, his role was that of a caring “big”; brother to his four siblings. As both a sailor and saltwater sports fisherman, he was regarded by many as among the best of his generation. Particularly, he enjoyed his time spent on Horn Island, in the woods, river, bay, gulf and other waters of Jackson County MS as well as sailing on the high seas.
Captain Ford was predeceased by his parents, James Ira and Rena Murphy Ford and his brother-in-law, Thomas G. Horne, Jr. He is survived by his wife, Sandra Parsons Ford, Melbourne, FL; his three sisters: Mary Elizabeth “Liz”; Ford, Pascagoula, MS; Rena Ann “Nanny”; Ford, New Orleans, LA; Marie “Ree” Ford Horne, Inverness, MS; and one brother: John M. “Cap”; (Donna Hawkins) Ford, Vancleave, MS; niece Marie Ford Horne, New Orleans, La; nephew Thomas G. (Martha Pratt) Horne, III, Inverness, MS; niece Jennifer I. Ford (James) Byrd, Cincinnati, Ohio; great niece, Morgan Elizabeth Horne, Inverness, MS; sister-in-law, Sherry (Ron) Gee, Chattanooga, TN; many cousins, and close friends.
A Memorial Mass will be held at Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church, Pascagoula, MS, on Saturday May 28,2022 at 10 AM with Father Tomasz Golab officiating. Burial at Krebs Cemetery in the Ford family plot will immediately follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, P. O. Box 368, Pascagoula MS 39568 or the charity of one’s choice.
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