Stephen Ford

Memorial Service

2:00 pm
Monday, October 18, 2021
New Community Church
1100 Middle Avenue
Menlo Park, California, United States

Obituary of Stephen Matthew Ford

Stephen Matthew Ford


Stephen Matthew Ford passed away at his home in Palo Alto, CA on October 7, 2021, surrounded by his loving family.

Steve was born in Pasadena, CA on December 5, 1940, to Julia (Wagner) and Leo Ford.  His dad worked for Southern Pacific Railroad.  He moved the family to Santa Barbara, CA in Steve’s very early years, and he often called Santa Barbara “his home”.  He explored the area on his bicycle and volunteered at the local museum.  When Steve was in his early teens, the family relocated to El Centro, CA. where he spent his high school years.  He told many stories of his time there and trips into Mexico with his buddies.  He played trumpet in the high school band and had the honor of playing on the opening day of Disneyland.

Steve attended California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo and earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering in 1964.  While at Cal Poly, he was a founding member of the Kappa Chi fraternity and played in the university band.  In 2014 at his 50th class reunion, Steve presented his band jacket to the band director during half time ceremonies of the homecoming football game.

Steve’s career brought him to the Bay area.  He held positions in operations, engineering, manufacturing management, general management, and program management.  He worked for a number of companies including Douglas Aircraft, General Motors, Diablo Systems, Solectron, Friden Alcatel, Raychem and Applied Materials.  After taking an early retirement from Applied Materials, Steve attended the College of San Mateo and started his second career in accounting.  He worked for Robert Half and also did consulting.  After retiring, Steve taught trumpet to children at the Boys and Girls Club, played in the Ye Olde Towne Band in Los Altos, and spent time enjoying his many friends and family.

Steve married Janet Mitchell in 1964.  They raised 2 children, Patrick and Laura and lived primarily in Fremont, CA.  During that time, Steve was the president of the Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church.  He began living on his own in 1986.

While working at Friden Alcatel, Steve met Elizabeth.  They worked on project teams together and spent time talking about New England, where Elizabeth is from, and quickly learned how much they enjoyed each other’s company.  They were married on June 25, 1988 in Amesbury, Massachusetts.  In 1990 they settled in Palo Alto, CA. 

Steve was a member of the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and recently began attending New Community Church in Menlo Park.  He and Elizabeth made many friends through Bible Study groups who continue to be their friends today. They enjoyed traveling, especially to the east coast and the California coast, and call Mendocino their “special place”.  

Steve also enjoyed spending time with his son, Patrick, talking about cars and watching Star Trek.  His time with his daughter, Laura, was spent on weekend trips in earlier years and gardening and “hanging out” in later years.  Spending time with family and friends brought Steve great joy.  He was a punster, and you could always plan on a laugh when you were with Steve.  He was a friend to all he met, and one friend recently called Steve a “good man”.  He is sorely missed by all who knew and love him.

Steve is survived by his wife and best friend, Elizabeth (Ball), his son, Patrick Ford (Tina), his daughter, Laura Lorrain (Jean Paul), and many nieces and nephews.  He is pre-deceased by his sister, Joan Brown.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.


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