Page 52

Faye Ford

Keeps Busy Supporting Community Groups Story by Ray Burow • Photos by Abner Pedraza

Faye Ford isn’t a Florida native, but she’s close. The 81-yearold never cared for cold weather, not even as a child. So, at 10 years of age, she was thrilled when her parents made the decision to move from southern New Jersey to South Florida. It wasn’t a job that lured them to the area. Ford’s parents had fallen in love with Miami while on vacation and decided to call the city their home. The year was 1947, and Ford’s experiences in Miami were quite different compared to those of any 10-year-old living there today. Miami was a completely different city, and not nearly the metropolis that it is today. “Miami was a totally different place. Of course, the population was a lot less. I remember walking and riding bikes to the Orange Bowl. It was a safe place. My girlfriend and I would ride our bikes to the Orange Bowl, watch the Orange Bowl Parade, and then ride home by ourselves at 14 years of age. You’d never be able to do that today,” Ford said. With a typical 10-year-old’s imagination, Ford enjoyed the trek down south, which took place in between Christmas and New Year’s. She was absolutely certain that swimming pools would dot the landscape, and every house past the Georgia/Florida line would have one. That, perhaps, was the only disappointment the move had for Ford. Getting used to the heat was a challenge. “We didn’t have air conditioning when we first went there, and the schools weren’t air conditioned either,” Ford said. “It was hotter than heck.” Before attending college, Ford, an artist, took art classes at the University of Miami. She attended the University of Florida and studied art, before return52

august 2018 | wellington the magazine

ing to Miami and taking classes at night at the University of Miami. She didn’t receive an art degree, but that never stopped her from loving and practicing her craft. Her favorite medium is oil. “There’s art in everything you do every day. People don’t even think about it, but you know, when you pick out the curtains for your bedroom or put food on a plate, it’s all to please the eyes,” Ford said. Her creative right brain constantly battles her more logical, analytical left brain. Ford views this as an asset, rather than a challenge, embracing the fact that in addition to her creative side, she is also a detail person who worked in finance. A bank employed Ford for nearly 19 years. She started at Southeast Bank in Miami until it became First Union. Not thrilled with the change, Ford left the job, taking early retirement at age 55. This was also about the time that she was going through a divorce. Three days after she signed the papers to leave the bank, Hurricane Andrew slammed into her house, which was in the evacuation zone. The memory of the hurricane remains so vivid that when she tells the story, not only does she remember the forecaster’s warning, but also his name. “That was quite an experience,” Ford recalled. “There was Bryan Norcross on TV, saying, ‘Folks if you live in this area, I am telling you, get out of there because this thing’s going to hit us.’”

Ford evacuated to a friend’s house near the University of Miami. The next day, her friend’s husband accompanied her back to the neighborhood, which was only five miles away. All the trees and familiar landmarks were down, making it hard to find her way back home. “The things you were used to looking at that reminded you to turn here or to turn there were down,” she said. “It was awful, but I was very lucky that I had the only house in the neighborhood that didn’t have a blue tarp on it. My windows blew in, but my roof didn’t leak. The only thing that really happened good that year was my youngest granddaughter was born.” Family is very important to Ford, who was an only child with ties to a large extended family, which included both sets of grandparents up until the time she was 28 years old. Her daughter, Jill, lives in Arizona, and Ford continues to cultivate a long-distance relationship with her two granddaughters, along with her great-grandson. She is looking forward to welcoming a second great-grandson in September. Ford keeps very busy with a number of activities and projects. She is a member of the Wellington Art Society, a nonprofit organization that promotes art in the area and raises money to provide scholarships to Palm Beach County students who wish to pursue art. In addition to high school students, the organization has added a provision for a Florida Atlantic University student. The Wellington Art Society awarded $12,000 in scholarships this year. Most of the scholarships were awarded in increments of $1,200. The Wellington Art Society also hosts member exhibits, as

Wellington The Magazine – August 2018  

August 2018 | ON THE COVER Wellington Landings Middle School science teacher Amelia Forem was recently named secondary level Beginning Teac...

Wellington The Magazine – August 2018  

August 2018 | ON THE COVER Wellington Landings Middle School science teacher Amelia Forem was recently named secondary level Beginning Teac...