Thomas “Tom” Ford, passed away January 1, 2022, at the age of 71.
Tom, son of the late Sidney (Syd) and Mildred (Mid), was born December 14, 1950, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the third of five children growing up in a Catholic home on the east side. Tom spent his childhood attending St. Simon Catholic Church, as well as being an altar boy in its parish.
In junior high school, Tom met his forever sweetheart, Debbie (Welsh). After graduation, they married and made a home on the northeast side of Indianapolis. Daughters Shannon and Melissa would soon follow, making their family complete. Tom looked forward to their annual trip to visit Debbie’s family in Wisconsin. Time spent on the Brenizer Farm and Wistrom Ranch was something he cherished. Annual Spring Break adventures to Jekyll Island, Georgia, with family and friends, were always enjoyable and relaxing. Summers were spent around the Ford pool where there would be birthday parties, weddings, graduations, karaoke, raft races, cornhole tournaments, and Tom saving the lives of drowning children. He was a true hero! Co-ed softball leagues, along with the Bob & Tom Bowling and Golf Scrambles, brought generations of life-long friends together for over 40 years. Tom could pitch horseshoes and toss cornhole with the best of them. He was also an avid golfer, capturing his first hole-in-one in 1984. Ford Family Thanksgivings always brought laughter, love, and inside jokes to the gatherings. Tom and Debbie relished their time spent cruising the Caribbean, with Aruba being their favorite island destination. Additional getaways where they made memorable moments included Las Vegas, Pebble Beach, San Francisco, and the Florida beaches. Tom never missed a game, school event, or celebration of his daughters or grandsons, Jacob, Kaden, and Benny. Tom and Debbie celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary last summer in Orange Beach, Alabama. Those who knew Tom understood his fierce love of his 3 girls, grandsons, extended family, and close friends. Tom recommitted his life to Jesus in 2010. Along with his family, he attended Northview Church in Carmel and Anderson, where he grew in his faith. He was baptized in 2019, and as part of the same ceremony, had the honor to participate in the baptism of his grandson, Kaden.
Tom was an active volunteer in the community of Lawrence. He served on the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Board, served on the Board of the Lawrence Elementary Football League, as well as being a coach. He coached baseball in Lawrence’s Youth Baseball League as well as coaching his daughter Shannon in their softball program. In the early 80’s, Tom collaborated with his brother-in-law to create the Lawrence Bearcat Basketball League (now called the Lawrence Township Boys Basketball League). He was active on the board for more than 20 years. His passion for youth basketball led him to become an official referee for the Indiana High School Athletic Association. In 1995, he received the Superintendent’s Award for his exemplary support of programs and services in the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township. In 1997, the Lawrence Township Boys Basketball League honored Tom by awarding annual scholarships to high school seniors, at both Lawrence Central and Lawrence North, in his name. Tom’s scholarship continues to this day. After moving to the Oaklandon area, Tom dedicated more than 10 years towards coaching Shannon and Melissa in St. Alban’s Episcopal Church’s softball league.
Professionally, Tom worked as a painter early on, even taking a job overseas painting castles for the King in Saudi Arabia. He transitioned into the food and beverage industry, taking a district sales position with Chesty Foods. Tom was an entrepreneur at heart. His endeavors included Walking Golf, Inc and TE-EL Voice and Data. Audio-visual technology and telecommunications sales is where Tom finished out his career. He retired in 2018, however it was short-lived. He says his most enjoyable job was his last, as Food Specialist at Pathways Learning Academy (inside Northview Church, Binford Campus), where he was known as “Chef Tom” to all the children he served.
Tom’s parents, Sidney (Syd) and Mildred (Mid), and sister Nancy Van Slyke, greeted him on the other side, along with his mother-in-law, Darlene Welsh, brothers-in-law Danny Welsh, Virgil Berry, and Albert Van Slyke, and nephew Andrew Welsh. He will be missed dearly by his wife, Debbie, daughters Shannon and Melissa, and grandsons Jacob, Kaden (Key), and Bennett (Nussbaum). He also leaves behind sisters Cyd Rice (Mike), JoLinda Hopper (Randy) and brother Greg Ford, sister-in-law Donna Baird, in addition to 24 nieces and nephews, numerous great nieces and nephews, extended family and longtime friends. Finally, he leaves behind man’s best friends Mable, Esmay, and Prim.
Please join us for a celebration of Tom’s life Saturday, April 23, 1:00 – 4:30, at the Villas at Britton Falls, 16485 Del Webb Parkway, Fishers, IN 46037. We will take time out to share special words and memories from 2:00 – 3:00.
Contributions can be made, in Tom’s name, to the Lawrence Township Boys Basketball League.
Please send checks to:
PO BOX 36685
Indianapolis, IN 46236
We love you guys, Deb. Lots of prayers. We’ll be there.
Sharing memories, stories and personal feelings about those we love and value honors their life. Thank you for sharing. May the Lord bless you with comfort and peace.
A beautiful tribute to a one of the really good guys. Had many wonderful times with Tom and Debbie.
What an amto such tribute to such a wonderful guy. Love his picture.
My prayers 🙏 are with you and your family.
God Bless You.
I can’t remember a time when any member of the Ford family wasn’t part of my family’s life. My heart breaks for all!
I only knew Tom and Debbie in High School and from reading this “Story of his Life” he lived a Great Life! Amazing Journeys and experiences he lived with his family like something out of a storybook. He seems to have lived a Blessed Life and shared his blessings to all those around him. An amazing story for an Amazing man and his family to remember! May he be at peace with all of those in his life that have moved into Grace also!
There are no words to convey our feelings. Tom was such a huge part of our Hooligan Family. We never hear Frank Sinatra sing without picturing Tom at the mic. He truly did it “My Way”. Love you all and know together is forever according to God’s promise! 💔🙏🏻
Loved him like a brother. The very best of friends, Tom and Debbie.
Tom was one of the finest most personable fellas I’ve ever met. He always reminded me so much of his Dad who touched my life in many ways as a kid.
Tom you made a difference in this world!
Thoughts and prayers are with my sweet friend Cyd, Debbie and the girls , and the entire family 🙏❤️
I have always loved and Admired you guys. You two are like the Ward and June Cleavers of long ago, and I always admired both of you for your commitment and longevity to your family and marriage. You have been a dear friend to our family for as long as I can remember. I will never forget Tom’s sense of humor and wry smile. He is a man that will be remember fondly and cherished. Love you guys, Michael Wheeler
So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you Debbie.
One of the best teams I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, Tom and Debbie Ford. My memories of them go back to the 7th grade when I was at school 103 and Debbie was in the 8th grade there. That’s a long time, and from the first time I met Tom I was impressed with how he could “listen” to you when you spoke with him. He made eye contact and actually listened, something that seems scarce today. Tom was an honorable and admirable man and any friend of his will concur with that assessment. He, and men like him are to be admired and emulated for there are not enough of them in this world. This loss is very hard and very heavy, and my prayers and support are with Debbie and Tom’s family.
Tom was a wonderful husband and father. No one could have been a better son-in-law to Darlene (deb’s mom) . As a long time friend of Darlene I remember all the times I was invited to join in gathering at the ford’s. Tom also made me welcomed
I was blessed to know Tom through the Lawrence Township Basketball League (LTBBL) that he founded over 47 years ago! I am the current President of LTBBL and each year, hundreds of youth grades 3-11th benefit from this basketball league which continues to be a real gem in Lawrence Township. We have a very prestigious scholarship named after Tom. It is awarded to one Lawrence North and one Lawrence Central senior who has played in our LTBBL league, has strong academic records and very importantly has given back to our community with a focus on giving back to youth sports. In prior years, Tom would come to the awards ceremony and take the time to meet the scholarship recipients. Tom also took the time to referee in our league and did a wonderful job with the younger leagues where he would take the time to instruct the players on what the foul or violation entailed. Our Lawrence Township community is a better place due to Tom and his efforts with LTBBL.
Always be in thoughts of love and smiles, will forever be touched in my heart.
Thank you for allowing me to give back to the youth Mr. Ford. Your contributions to the community and LTBBL are truly appreciated.
Thank You Mr. Ford for your vision and for your investment in the youth of Lawrence Township. Your gifts and talents have allowed the league to thrive – blessings to the entire family.
Love and prayers to you Debbie, and your family!! We have lots of fun memories with you and Tom!! We plan to see you tomorrow!! Love , Martha and Frank Jackson 💕