BY DEAN HOCKNEY
The Howard County Sports Hall of Fame selected longtime Kokomo Tribune sports editor Bob Ford as the recipient of its Distinguished Service Award. In just its second year, the award is presented to a person who has contributed greatly to the betterment of sports in Howard County. Last year’s first recipient was local Coca-Cola President E.P. Severns Jr.
Ford was sports editor during the golden era of high school sports (1953-80) and left a huge thumbprint on this community. He died at age 62 in 1991 while still employed in the Tribune news department.
Under Ford’s guidance at the Tribune, the newspaper covered county and area prep sports like few of the state’s daily newspapers did at that time. He also was largely responsible for starting one of the city’s longest running and most successful sports events – the Tribune’s city youth baseball tournament, which recently crowned its 55th champion.
Ford was named Indiana sportswriter of the year in 1970 and 1972 and he captured awards from the Associated Press and Associated Press Managing Editors Association in 1973 for a 7-part series on heart attacks and open heart surgery. Ford was one of the nation’s early recipients of bypass heart surgery in 1972.
In 1986, Ford received the IHSAA Distinguished Service Media Award and in 2005, he garnered his final and most prestigious honor, a berth in the Indiana Sports Writers and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
In addition to his involvement in sports through his writing, Ford was active in the city’s Babe Ruth, Connie Mack and American Legion baseball programs. Ford was also a devoted member of Kokomo Elks Lodge 190 where he was secretary from 1980 until his death.
Ford’s wife of 42 years, Nancy, is also deceased. The couple had two children, Angie Love and Nanette Fortson along with four grandchildren.