May 9, 1924 - December 2, 2021
The family welcomes stories and memories sharing on the Joldersma & Klein website. A public celebration of life for Charlie will be held at a later time. The family requests donations be made to the Barry County Food Bank, Prairieville/Pine Lake Volunteer Fire Department or a local non-profit organization of your choice.
Charles Miller Ford, 97, of Pine Lake, peacefully passed away on December 2, 2021, at Ascension Borgess Hospital, Kalamazoo with his children by his side.
Charlie was born on May 9, 1924, at Pine Lake, in the house on the family farm on Ford Road. At age 9 his parents moved the family to the Ford farm on Lindsey Road/Ford’s Point. He was the oldest of four boys born to Robert C. and Dorothy (Miller) Ford.
He grew up learning the farm life firsthand from his father and grandfather including managing crops and raising livestock during the difficult time of the Great Depression.
During these years, Charlie grew up on the farm that bordered Pine Lake #3 that is now Ford’s Point and enjoyed boating and fishing.
He graduated from Delton Kellogg High School in 1942 and went on to take Agricultural short courses at Michigan State University. His most valuable education was hands on and by trial and error. Farm life was a very important way of life to the Ford family using the basic knowledge of problem solving to achieve every day goals.
On January 8, 1944, Charlie married Maxine Senne and they returned to the family farm on Ford Road where he lived until his death. Together they raised three boys, Bob was born in 1945, Gary in 1947, and Randy in 1950, and two girls, Nancy in 1953, and Barb in 1955, and countless animals and pets. It was after this time that the family acquired a cottage on Pine Lake #1 and spent weekends swimming, water skiing and fishing.
As farming was becoming more challenging, Charlie joined State Farm Insurance as an agent in 1955 and began selling insurance to supplement the family income. He made his office in the family home so he could provide service to his customers 24/7. He was as devoted to his customer as he was to his family.
In 1974, Charlie was one of many that helped establish the Prairieville/Pine Lake Volunteer Fire Department. His pagers and scanners were constantly on as he took pride in being the first volunteer to arrive at the station to prepare equipment as needed. He was an active fireman/first responder until 2012 at the age of 88 when his own health issues forced his retirement.
He was always a very active person throughout his life, starting many new projects before he finished current ones. He enjoyed cutting/splitting firewood for his wood stove that he had used for heat supplement and cooking until he turned 95. You could always find him on one of his many tractors moving logs, grading his driveway or just riding through the fields. He was always willing to help others and never afraid of work as he learned the value of friends at an early age.
Charlie is survived by his youngest son, Randy (Vicki) Ford of Jefferson City, MO, and his youngest daughter, Barb Hysell of Paw Paw, MI. He was preceded in death by his parents, his three brothers, Eugene R. Ford, Sidney C. Ford, Douglas L. Ford, his wife of 57 years, Maxine in 2001, his children, Robert L. (Nancy Smith) Ford in 1971, Nancy L. Ford in 2013, and Gary C. (Diane) Ford in 2018. He has eight grandchildren, Tim (Amy) Ford, Stephanie Ford, Brian (Christine) Ford, Jason (Emily) Ford, Dawn (Ryan) Freeland, Bobby Curry, Nicole (Robbie) Henley, Lucas Hysell and thirteen great-grandchildren.