Born in Georgetown, Ohio, Ford was just 17 when he volunteered and entered the US Naval V-5 Aviation Program. In 1944, his Naval unit was sent from Georgetown to the University of Kansas in the V-12 program. While Ford thought Kansas was going to be the Wild West, he was surprised to find Lawrence quite civilized.
Upon his discharge to the Navy Reserves in 1946, Ford returned to KU to complete his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating in 1949, he became an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the school. On spring break from KU, he took a ski trip to Aspen, CO and met the love of his life, Nanette Hyer. After taking a tumble on the slopes and splitting his ski suit, Nan came to his rescue with a few safety pins. They fell in love and were married the same year.
Following, Ford worked for the Pittsburg Plate Glass Company in Crystal City, MO as a research engineer and plant manager for two years. He was then recalled to active duty with the Navy during the Korean War in 1950. He served as Logistics Officer aboard Navy repair ships with the 7th Fleet in Korean waters for a 27-month tour. Upon discharge, he returned to Olathe and joined Nanette’s family business, the Hyer Boot Company, as a Plant Engineer.
This is about the time he got heavily involved in the Olathe community. Some of the groups he was involved in included the Episcopal Church, a Masonic Lodge, a Kansas Professional Engineering Society, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Industrial Development Commission, the State Chamber of Commerce, Red Cross, the Olathe School Board, Olathe Rotary, the Johnson County Navy League and Advisory Board of Directors of the Patrons Bank, where he was "Commissioned L.T.J.G USNR." He served on the Olathe Planning Commission for 15 years and was a board member of Olathe Medical Center from 1981 to 1988, the Olathe Health Foundation Board from 1984 to 1986, and the City Commission from 1985 to 1989. The range of Ford's professional expertise is almost hidden by his cloak of hometown affability and civic services.
His second degree from KU, a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering, allowed him to pursue the next chapter of his career, where he opened his own business, Ford Bohl & Associates, where he essentially served as an "Aquatic Consultant," helping plan and design pools and water structures for architectural firms, municipalities, and schools throughout the United States. He was personally involved in more than 375 commercial aquatic projects over his 59 years in the business.
Ford resided in Olathe with his wife, Nan. In retirement, he enjoyed working on mechanical projects and keeping up with new developments via Engineering journals. He especially found great joy in supporting Nan’s continued swimming endeavors. He is survived by his wife, Nan, four children, Cathy, Ford Jr., Amy and Andrew, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. The family will greatly miss his warm smile and consistently positive personality.
Memorial contributions may be given to either Cedar Lake Village, 15325 S. Lone Elm Rd, Olathe or to Kindred Hospice, 8735 Rosehill Rd #200, Lenexa, KS 66215.
To leave a special message for his family or to share a memory of Ford, please click on the "Share Memories" tab above or scroll down below.