Laurence Ford, a credit manager for General Motors Acceptance Corporation in Patchogue and Bohemia for 30 years, died Sunday at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. He was 89.
The cause was complications following heart surgery, family members said.
Ford and his wife, the former Kay O’Neill, retired from East Patchogue to New Bern, North Carolina in 1992 and filled their golden years with golf, grandchildren and travel. The couple moved to Bellport in 2014 to be closer to family. But his life was not always comfortable.
Laurence Benedict Ford was a Great Depression baby, born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, on November 25, 1926, to Mary and Laurence Ford. His father, a telephone company executive and the family’s sole provider, lost his job as the economy worsened; later, the family lost its home.
Ford enlisted in the Navy following graduation from St. Agnes High School, in West Chester, Pennsylvania, serving on the bridge of the aircraft carrier USS Randolph for two years as she steamed into World War II combat off Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Japanese home islands. He was aboard but uninjured during a kamikaze attack at Ulithi on March 11, 1945, that killed 27 of his shipmates and wounded 105.
Following the war, Ford graduated from Villanova University with an economics degree.
All these experiences marked him, said a son, Mike Ford, of Brookhaven. Having grown up in hard times, Ford was adamant that his children graduate from college and was “as proud of that as anything else in his life” when they did.
And, while Ford remained proud of his military service for the rest of his life, he bridled at the adulation directed in recent years toward members of the so-called Greatest Generation.
“For him, this is what you did,” Mike Ford recalled. “You signed up and you went.”
Ford was predeceased by daughters Mary Dolores and Eileen Mary and by a sister, Mary F. Rickel. Besides his wife, Kay, of Bellport Village, and Mike Ford, Ford is survived by daughters Pat Henderson, of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Sally Palace of Auburn, Massachusetts; Shelagh Murphy of Wayland, Massachusetts; Katie Mehrkens of Bellport; Marijo Murphy of Yorktown Heights; and another son, Tom Ford, of East Patchogue.
Visiting is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at Robertaccio Funeral Home in Patchogue. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph the Worker Roman Catholic Church in Patchogue 10 a.m. Friday, followed by burial at Calverton National Cemetery.