Thomas I. Ford, 85, formerly of Colton

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 4:08 PM EDT
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QUEENSBURY, New York (WWNY) - Thomas I. Ford, 85, passed away peacefully at his home in Queensbury, NY on April 22nd surrounded by his family.

Tom was born on May 30th, 1937, the first son of Ivan and Margaret Ford of Colton, NY. After attending Colton Pierrepont Central School, Tom went on to receive a B.S. in Education from SUNY Potsdam and a Masters of Education Administration from SUNY Oswego. He pursued additional Graduate Studies at Syracuse University, Arizona State, the University of Connecticut, and SUNY Albany.

Tom met the love of his life, Susan Lee Lester, while at college in Potsdam. The two were wed in January of 1960 and remained married for the rest of his life – 63 wonderful years of unwavering love and devotion. Tom and Sue started their life and family together, initially settling in Rochester, NY, then moving to Sue’s hometown of Auburn, NY, and eventually making their final move to the Glens Falls area in 1969. Tom’s education career was long and remarkable: he taught 6th and 7th grades in Auburn and Rochester, respectively, then served as Principal of Fulton St. Elementary School, Sanford St. Elementary School, Kensington Rd. Elementary School, and Glens Falls Middle School. He then served as Administrator of Elementary Curriculum and Special Programs and Director of Special Programs in Glens Falls City School District. Tom officially retired from education in 1993, but continued to work until the very end of his life, holding positions as interim school administrator at both Shenendehowa and Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, and working as a successful real estate broker with Realty USA and Howard Hanna.

Tom’s Father was a NY State Forest Ranger who instilled a deep love for the Adirondack wilderness in his son. This passion and knowledge was not only passed along to his children and grandchildren, but also to countless others through his activity counseling at the Forest Lake Boys Camp, where he led many trips into the Adirondack High Peaks. Tom also coached football. He was actively involved in countless community projects and organizations, including but not limited to the Queensbury Zoning Board of Appeals, the Chapman Historical Museum Board, and the Advisory Board for Community Maternity Services for Warren County. He also held the position of President on the Sister Cities Committee of Glens Falls/Warren County and on the Board of Trustees at the First Presbyterian Church of Glens Falls.

Undoubtedly, one of Tom’s greatest passions was Hot Air Ballooning. For forty years, Tom was a well-known commercial Hot Air Balloon Pilot, flying his beloved balloon Sybarite, as well as another, Point of View, in the Northeast and across America, in addition to International adventures in Canada and two appearances at the World Hot Air Balloon Championships in Saga Prefecture, Japan. His fellow pilots, crew, and passengers became Tom’s extended family, and one of the most special parts of his life.

Tom was a loving, giving, and selfless soul. He gave 110% in both his personal and professional life with humility, passion, and grace. The positive impact Tom had as a husband, father, grandfather, brother, loyal friend, coach, leader, teacher, administrator, professional, and pilot will echo throughout the generations of people who have known and loved him.

Thomas is predeceased by his parents, Ivan and Margaret, and infant brother Duane.

Thomas is survived by his loving wife Susan, brothers Gordon and David, sons Stephen and Douglas, and grandchildren Katharine, Matthew, and Austin.

Calling hours will be Friday, May 19th from 4-7 p.m. at the Singleton Sullivan Potter Funeral Home, 407 Bay Road, Queensbury, NY.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully encourages donations to the Thomas I. Ford Memorial Teaching Scholarship Fund.