Obituary of Ann Marie Ford
Ann M. (McGoldrick) Ford passed away at her residence on September 18, 2021. She was 93 years old.
Born in Philadelphia on May 13, 1928 and was the daughter of the late Francis and Ellen (Cannon) McGoldrick.
She was formerly of Downingtown and had been a resident of Collegeville since 2000.
Ann loved her family and always appreciated the time they spent together. Thanksgiving dinner was a very special occasion for her, as well as, looking forward to and the excitement of family vacations. Dancing was always an enjoyable pastime for her.
Along with her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother; Charles McGoldrick.
Ann is survived by her husband of 70 years; James C. Ford, her 8 children; Roy (Elisabeth), Eileen (William) McNamara, James (the late Tammy), Neil, Ann Marie (Tom) Brecht, Mary (Andrew) Hadfield, Kathy (the late Paul) Leinhauser, and Lisa Williams. Also survived by 13 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.
Her Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, September 24, 2021 at 11:00 AM in St. Eleanor's RC Church, 647 Locust St., Collegeville, PA 19426.
Relatives and friends may call on Friday morning from 10:00 to 10:45 AM at the church.
Interment will be private and held at a later date.
Donations is Ann’s memory may be made to: CHOP Foundation, P.O. Box 781352, Philadelphia, PA 19178, chop.edu
Eulogy by Bill McNamara
Ann Ford: Mom, Nan, Love
I know you’ll remember me when I’m gone
Remember my stories, remember my songs
I’ll leave them on earth, sweet traces of gold
O they’re calling me home
They’re calling me home
So family, gather round, and bid me goodbye
My body’s bound but my soul will fly
My little light shining from the sky
O they’re calling me home
They’re calling me home
My words will always be inadequate to capture Ann, Mom, Nana for you. Each of you have your special memory of her touch, her voice, her smile, her glance at you when she didn’t think you were looking at her. I’m just trying to share a small part of Nan. I look forward to all the other stories that will come out as the day goes along. Thank you, Pop, for sharing the love of your life with me while I fumbled for the right expressions.
A warm late summer evening in September, 1948, the West Catholic high school gym hot, full of basketball players sweaty from summer leagues, the air heavy, the open wood sashes admitting only the stalest of fresh air. Before his game, a skinny red-haired young man walked casually over to a young dark-haired girl with the pretty smile sitting by her cousin on the worn wooden bleachers. His confidence tempered with anxious anticipation. “Would you hold my wallet for me?” he asked, “and would you help me spend some if it later?” Of course, she said yes and so began this remarkable journey together full of love, laughter, tears and family. It seemed on that night they already knew they were meant for each other. And we as children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, in laws and friends have had the privilege of sharing some of these beautiful moments with them. But it started there in a gym before a basketball game. Can a start to a relationship be any more appropriate? After all, basketball was a lifelong passion for both. I’ll stop short of obsession… I think.
And then the long walks from 57th and Cedar down to 3246 Samson Street. Lifelong city kids exploring the neighborhoods, holding hands, heads bowed inward, speaking quietly, searching out each other. Jim was a little older, a vet going to LaSalle on the GI bill. Annie working at Home Life Insurance in Old City. As Pop related to me, Nan’s mom didn’t particularly care for him when they were first dating. One night when he was late bringing her home, she castigated Nan in front of Pop. Pop stood up for Nan. Something we know he would do. Her mom was incensed. Talking about him “Sassing me back in my own home.”
Later he found out that Nan’s aunt Rose had said to Nan’s mom, “Ellen, be happy for your daughter to have someone who will always protect her.” After that he was welcomed into the house. I think Rose’s word proved very true. He always was there for her, protecting her but Nan was always there for Pop too, supporting him and all of you through the pains of growing up.
They spent time walking all over Philadelphia. That’s what you do without a car.Nan loved dancing and especially loved dancing with Pop. It seemed their feet fit together best. They would dance to the Dorsey Brothers bands to Glenn Miller and to Harry James. She loved the big band sound.
Nan was a fan of the A’s and they would take the subway/elevated up to Lehigh Ave and walk across to Shibe Park to catch a game. Other times they would board a ferry at 2nd and Market and sail down the Delaware for an afternoon trip to Riverview Beach in Pennsville, NJ. They had a Ferris wheel which Nan love to ride. Pop not so much. After multiple rides, and Nan teasing Pop, Pop was done. Off to the pool they went. Nan always had a healthy respect for the water. She would go in the water, but she didn’t swim, those feet weren’t leaving the bottom, whether it be concrete, sand or the mud of a lake. No way. But she would wade and get wet, sometimes bouncing up and down in the waist deep water. But really isn’t that who Nan was? A person always well grounded, never leaving her feet to float away on some transitory tide. She was the one with the plans, the ideas for family. As I became more welcomed into the family, I realized that Thanksgiving planning started in August, summer vacation planning started in December and I think Christmas planning was a year-round activity. Those plans brought us together, as much as Pop’s desire to have the family together each Thanksgiving. And the lists…Nan had a list for everything, scribbled on scraps of paper. Do you think she forgot something she said to you…? probably not – she would bring it up months later, likely from a note she had made.
She loved having you all close. Like the child who would crawl into bed for an afternoon nap and Nan would sneak a few minutes to lay there too. The child snuggling tight to her back. Lisa told me how she loved to squish up onto her lap in Glen Mills and watch TV. Even at the end didn’t we all squish against the wall by her bed so we could be close to her, stroke her hair and hold her hand. She had a way of bringing us together without ever saying a word.
Pop told me that while he might be the first one to wake in the morning, Nan was always up with him. In Glen Mills she would go down and make coffee and breakfast. Kathy loved to wake up in the morning to the smell of oatmeal and come down those squeaky wooden steps to a hot breakfast before school. Or on the cold winter mornings coming down the steps to stand in front of the heat grate. How did she do it? Last to bed, washing clothes, ironing. Making all those school lunches late at night. Though that was always a good time to have a talk with her, if you were willing to help make the lunches.
That planning, those lists, that preparation. They all were part of her success at Treadway, at Norcross and at Ramsgate. You grandchildren and great grandchildren never knew Nan as a working woman but she was and she excelled at it.
How do I even begin to talk about the yearly rides with the family for the one-daytrip to Atlantic City or the drives to Florida, Lisa sitting on the center console of the Vega? Stopping by at South of the Border for the night. Playing miniature golf before going on to Perry’s. Nan was the one who heard about Knoebel’s. She was the one who organized the first trip to the Outer Banks. Ian, Zack and Liam reminisced about the folded up ice cream dollars that were somehow in your hands at the end of each visit. Indelible parts of our lives, started and shared by Nan. Her legacy to us is rich in joy, great memories, gentle moments that will last into your children’s children’s lives as you take your children and they take their children to the shore, the outer banks and Knoebels.
I laugh out loud when I think of Nan getting excited about something and her hands coming up to the sides of her face and she would shake them and laugh joyfully. Think of the photo from Annie and Tommy’s wedding as she is walking in to the reception.
We all have our choices of how we will remember Nan. As a vibrant young woman, as a strong mother, as a caring grandmother. I know how I choose to remember Nan – smiling - and providing the space where we can smile too. So, when I remember her, I will smile.
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