Reyburn Watson Ford, of Owensboro, Kentucky, passed away peacefully at his home with his family on January 30, 2020. He was born in Owensboro in 1932 to the late Ernest M. Ford and Irene Schenk Ford and raised on the family farm in Thruston, Kentucky, which he remembered fondly throughout his life.
In 1952, he married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Jean "Dot" Strehl Ford, with whom he recently celebrated 67 years of marriage. After he graduated from Western Kentucky University in 1955, he soon left home and family to serve his country as a US Army infantry unit commander in Korea from 1955 to 1957. Upon his return, Reyburn joined his father's insurance agency, EM Ford and Company. As managing partner, he helped oversee its evolution from a small local business to one of the largest family-owned insurance agencies in the state. In 1974, he also co-founded Southern Financial Insurance, growing it into a successful multi-state business. He retired from EM Ford and Company in 2002 and from Southern Financial in 2001.
Friends and family saw Reyburn as a pillar of the Owensboro community. He was involved in several civic and charitable organizations, and he was active in local and state politics and a tireless champion and supporter of his older brother, the late US Senator for Kentucky, Wendell H Ford. He chaired the Owensboro Health Foundation, was past president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Kentucky, and served on the boards of the state March of Dimes and The Lighthouse Recovery Services. A member of First Baptist Church his entire adult life, he served there as a deacon, a member of the finance committee, and a member of the Mavericks Sunday school class. Throughout his long public and professional life in Owensboro, he served people as a helper and problem-solver, whether clients, colleagues, friends, or even strangers.
Reyburn's family suspects that he had a lifelong dream of being a cowboy, based on his constant reading of western novels, his love of western channels on TV, and his time working on his son's horse ranch in Colorado. He enjoyed sports and was an avid golfer for most of his life. He was a loving son, brother, husband, father, and grandfather, who cherished and served his family. He will be remembered for the unselfish way in which he lived his life.
Reyburn is survived by his wife, Dot; his children, Rey Ford and his wife Laura, Rick Ford and his wife Donna, and Renee Ford; Rey's children, Chacey Malhouitre and her husband Romain and Charissa Kenny and her husband John; Rick's children, John Michael Ford and his wife Paula, Justin Ford and Kristin Ford; and great-grandchildren Nicholas Malhouitre, Nolan Malhouitre, Kaya Saks, Hailey Saks, Veda Kenny, and Robert J. Nickerson, IV. Also surviving him are his beloved sister, Betty John Sharpe, and several nieces and nephews.
The funeral service for Reyburn Ford will be held 11 a.m. Monday, February 3, 2020, at First Baptist Church with Dr. Paul Strahan officiating. Visitation will be from 1 until 6 p.m. Sunday, February 2, 2020, at Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory and after 10 a.m. Monday at First Baptist Church. Burial will follow at Elmwood Cemetery.
Expressions of sympathy may take the form of donations to Hospice of Western Kentucky or the charity of one's choice.
Memories and condolences for the family of Reyburn Ford may be left at www.glenncares.com