Bob Ford Sr. an absolute master of carpet installation, passed away on August 6. He was 83.
He was born in 1937. He had a large family with six brothers and four sisters. The family was very poor. The Ford’s home at the time had no running water.
This poverty increased his distaste for waste, but in no way decreased his good nature.
In 1957 he graduated from Brandon High School and had a job with a local accountant followed soon by work with a carpet cleaner. Desk work was never his thing.
The following year he married Judy. They’ve been married ever since.
At that time he worked two jobs. Bobby loved to work.
His carpet cleaning gig had morphed into carpet installation and through a connection with Bob Dean, he installed carpet during the day for Paul T. Ward, then the biggest Interior Design firm in the Southeast.
He also worked the night shift as a millwright, repairing, maintaining and installing machinery. After John Kennedy was elected in 1960, Bob did a stint with NASA at Cape Canaveral. He worked on the “arm tower,” the edifice that holds rockets in place before they take off.
Bob Sr. worked with his hands. “He could watch somebody work on anything and then do it himself,” said Bob Ford Jr. “It was often amazing.”
In 1970 he started his own carpet installation business and for the rest of his life installed almost exclusively for interior designers.
I have known him for almost my entire 45 years of designing. Always so pleasant and accommodating with a smile . Just a nice person… Doug Preiser
Bob Jr. joined his dad in 1980 and the company became Ford Carpet Service.
What a great guy he was.........one of the nicest I've ever had the pleasure of working with! I will deeply miss him. John Bateman
We might hear tales of people born in poverty who are workaholics who have a blinding ambition to escape the possibility of ever being poor again and single mindedly focus on making money.
Bobby was not that way at all.
He leaves a big void in the carpet world; irreplaceable talent. Kelly Taaffe Noto
He was a workaholic. When he was working he had great powers of concentration and stayed focused. But he could stop instantly to greet a friend or answer a question. He was a great conversationalist and was genuinely interested in other people.
As if to prove that office desk work was not for him, he didn’t even keep a calendar of upcoming jobs. He carried present and future jobs and obligations effortlessly in his head.
Bob Ford was an old school gentleman with a wonderful work ethic who took great pride in his business, and the installations of the people he worked for. All of us who knew Bob were very blessed to have known him. I'm very thankful that he touched my life and I will miss him and his smiling face. Karen Dellinger
He was very successful. He worked with his hands every day and on vacations traveled extensively, covering most of the world. He invested in real estate and with partners developed a housing project in Tennessee.
In 2002 Gary Dicus persuaded Ford Carpet Service to become part of the Addison Dicus Company. Bob Sr. began to cut back hours in 2004. He called it “retirement,” but in fact he worked off and on until he suffered a stroke in early 2020.
In our time of extreme automation, rarely do we think of craftsmen and craftsmanship. Bob Ford Sr. embodied the tradition of craftsmanship: doing work; doing it with pride; doing it right.