Former Senator Wendell Ford dies

Former Kentucky Governor and longtime Senator Wendell H. Ford passed away. He was 90 years old.

Glenn Taylor, president of Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory in Owensboro, says Ford died Thursday morning at his home. He said arrangements are pending.

Ford stared his political career as chief assistance to the Kentucky Governor in 1959. He then went on to be a state senator and lieutenant governor before serving as Kentucky’s governor from 1971 to 1974.

In 1974 he was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat. He served four terms before retiring in 1998.

Many Kentucky politicians are remembering Ford fondly.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says, “Senator Wendell Ford was not only a close friend, but a mentor to me. He was one of the best Kentuckians I’ve ever known, and he deeply loved our Commonwealth and all of its people.”

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell called Ford, “A proud Kentuckian who rose from page in the State House to governor of the state, Ford shaped the history of the Commonwealth in ways few others had before him. He never forgot the lessons about hard work he learned while milking cows or tending to chores on the family farm.”

U.S. Senator Rand Paul says, “I am honored to sit behind the same desk and serve in the same seat as Sen. Ford, a man so dedicated to his party, our state and this country.”

Governor Steve Beshaer called Ford one of Kentucky’s greatest statemen saying, “Our state and our nation are better places for his decades of thoughtful, cooperative work to help people. We are grateful for his legacy of service, and our prayers are with his wife, Jean, their children, Steve and Shirley, and their families.”

After retiring from the Senate, Ford lived at his home in Owensboro. He was diagnosed with lung cancer last year.

A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. Sunday in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort where Ford will lie in state from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. Sunday.

The funeral service for Ford will be at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday at First Baptist Church in Owensboro. Visitation will be at the Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory in Owensboro from 2:00 until 7:00 p.m. Monday and after 10:00 a.m. Tuesday at the church.

Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to the charity of one’s choice or the Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center.

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