15 Feb KARA mourns the passing of Ford West, former president of The Fertilizer Institute
Ford B. West, age 73 of Davidsonville, Maryland died surrounded by his family on Sunday, February 14 after a 15-year medical adventure with metastatic, castrate resistant, prostate cancer.
Ford was born on December 11, 1947 in Murphy, North Carolina to Venson and Evelyn Ford West. He graduated from Andrews High School in 1966 and Mars Hill College in 1970. He was a member of the Mars Hill football team, tri-captain of the 1969 team, active in student government, and listed in the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
During the first Vietnam draft lottery in 1969, his draft number was 39. He joined the United States Air Force and received an honorable discharge in May 1974 with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He then attended North Carolina State University where he met the love of his life, Mary Lucas (“Cathy”). He earned a Master of Science in Food Science and would be proud to tell you that after graduation Cathy beat him out for a job they both pursued. After four years together and a proposal by mailing a ring cross-country, the two married and built a life in Maryland grounded in faith and family.
Ford began his professional career with the National Canners Association, located in Washington, D.C. In 1979, he joined The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) where he was named President in 2005. He was passionate about the industry and his legacy of 34 years with TFI lives on through the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture, a training center in Owensboro, Kentucky named in recognition of his efforts with ResponsibleAg. In 2013, he was recognized by the Agricultural Retailers Association with the Jack Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2018 Ford was inducted into the Fertilizer Hall of Fame.
Ford traveled the world with Cathy, but was happiest in his own yard tending to his garden, spending time by the pool with his children, and giving his four grandchildren endless rides on the gator. He was an active member of Calvary United Methodist Church in Annapolis, Md. where he and Cathy facilitated Sunday School classes for over 30 years.
He is survived by his wife, Cathy, who he married June 16, 1979 in New Providence, N.J, three children: Ashley Hurst (husband Brad) of Davidsonville, Md; Lindsey Lutz (husband Jason) of Stephens City, Va. and Lucas West (fiancée Kirsten Hartman) of Washington D.C.; four grandchildren: Ford and Brooke Hurst and Elyse and Owen Lutz; three sisters: Carolyn White (husband John) of Huntsville Al; Melva Benham of Clearwater Fl; Clarice West of Southern Pines N.C.; and one brother Rick West (wife Jan) of Heavener, Ok.
A service celebrating his life will be held at a future date.
The family wishes any memorial contributions to be made to The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins or Calvary United Methodist Church in Annapolis, Md.