David Knight Ford was born in Cleveland in 1894. Descended from a New England family, his great-grandfather established a farm on a site that is now part of University Circle. Some of that land was subsequently transferred to provide sites for the Case School of Applied Science, Western Reserve College and University Hospitals.
Mr. Ford graduated from Yale University in 1915, served in the armed forces during World War I, rising to the rank of captain, and then earned a law degree from Western Reserve in 1921. Active in business, civic and church activities all of his life, including the Cleveland Congregational Union, David Ford was a founder of Lubrizol Corporation, serving as a member of its Board of Directors and as a Trustee of the Lubrizol Foundation from its inception. As he approached his 100th year, he continued to go to his office regularly, maintaining that routine until just two weeks before his death at University Hospitals in 1993, which occurred within a few yards of the spot where he was born and raised.
In 1920, David Ford married Elizabeth Kingsley Brooks, who was born in Cleveland in 1896. A graduate of Laurel School and the Westover School, Mrs. Ford became interested in nursing while volunteering with the Red Cross during World War I and was a founder and first president of the Cleveland Area League for Nursing, now known as the Ohio League for Nursing. During World War II, she was a volunteer nurse's aide at University Hospitals. Mrs. Ford also held an abiding interest in and commitment to the fine arts, including theatre and music. In 1973, the Women's City Club presented her with its Margaret Ireland Award for Civic Achievement. Mr. and Mrs. Ford had been married for 70 years when she passed away in 1990.
The Abington Foundation, named for the place in New England where Mr. Ford's ancestors first settled, was created in 1983 to support the values which the senior Fords championed and which their descendents now uphold. Mr. Ford once stated that his greatest achievement was having served his country. Clearly, both Mr. and Mrs. Ford were committed to extending that service to their community during their lives. Through their foresight, the philanthropy of the Abington Foundation will continue that support.
- Allen H. Ford
- David K. Ford
- David Ford, Jr.
- Ned Ford
- Charles K. Ford, Ph.D.
- Alex Ford
- Lise Ford
- Sarah Ford Whitener