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Douglas Joseph Ford

July 16, 1931 February 14, 2019
Douglas Joseph Ford
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Obituary for Douglas Joseph Ford
Doug Ford, a former Air Force lieutenant colonel, Solano County Board of Education trustee and Reporter columnist, died in his Dixon home Thursday after a battle with prostate cancer. He was 87.

Ford was born in Georgetown, Ill., in 1931 but moved to Tillamook, Ore., with his family when he was 3. It was there that he developed a lifelong interest in aviation when his father took him to see a Soviet aircraft that had flown over the North Pole from Moscow to Vancouver, Wash., in 1937.

Ford began building model airplanes and earned his private pilot’s license in 1950. He was accepted into the Air Force’s Pilot Training Program in 1951 but was moved over to the navigator training program after failing to pass the vision test. He retired from the Air Force in 1979, having reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.

This period saw a lot of activity in Ford’s life. He married his sweetheart, Oralie Quintanilla, had three children, was stationed throughout the United States, served in the Vietnam War, flew over the Arctic Circle and began teaching evening college courses on the military base on a variety of topics ranging from government to sociology to world history. He would continue to teach classes at local colleges through the early 1990s.

Upon retirement, Ford moved his family to Dixon and pursued master’s degrees in history and sociology at Sacramento State University and the University of California, Davis respectively, having previously earned a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Southern California. He also joined the Dixon RC Model Club where he continued to build model airplanes.

Ford’s daughter, Drea Pacot, said her father loved nature and the family often took trips to oceans, lakes and national parks.

Pacot recalled a trip to Lake Berryessa where she and her father rode aboard a speedboat and how much he enjoyed the thrill of being on the water.

“He was in his early 70s and still propped himself on a small lawn chair on the hood of the boat holding on to a rope,” she said. “He had us drive all over the lake like that. It was hilarious, and it even shocked my brother and sister when I told them.”

Pacot recently took Ford out to the lake again as he was recovering from knee surgery, and they sat and enjoyed the view.

Additionally, Pacot said her father loved to read and collected books for more than 65 years.

“I often joke that I grew up in a library,” she said.

In the early 1990s, Ford became interested in improving education after noticing a decline in the performance of the recent high school graduates who made up his classes. In 1991, he was elected to the Solano Community College Board of Trustees and decided to run for the Solano County Board of Education in 2001 after learning that K-12 education had the biggest impact on college students’ abilities.

Ford was elected to serve District 6, which includes Dixon and southeastern Vacaville. During his tenure on the board, Ford promoted greater preparation for teachers, improving academic performance and establishing partnerships to prepare students for growing fields like biotechnology.

During this period, Ford began writing a biweekly column for The Reporter, focusing on a wide array of topics including science, education, his family, recent trips and several columns about Dixon, ranging from its history to its economy to issues like the proposed Dixon Downs racetrack project, which was defeated by voters in 2007. The column was published from 2003 to 2018.

In 2011, Ford was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which was kept under control through chemotherapy until early 2018 when he felt he was becoming weaker through the illness. In July, he declined to seek re-election to the Board of Education, closing out a 17-year tenure. He was succeeded by Ginger Dunne.

Ford died in his home, surrounded by family. He is survived by his son James; daughters Lisa Wilson and Drea Pacot; three sisters, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Oralie, and his parents.

Pacot said people have already been telling her family about how intelligent her father was.

“We learned as people would stop by to see him that they would always tell us, ‘Your dad was the smartest man I have ever known,'” she said. “He read constantly and collected so many books. He was very proud of this.”

Ford’s visitation will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. March 4 at Milton Carpenter Funeral Home, 569 N. First St., Dixon. A burial service will take place at 11 a.m. March 5 at Sacramento National Valley Cemetery, 5810 Midway Road, Dixon, and a reception will be held immediately after at a private residence.
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5:00 PM 3/4/2019 5:00:00 PM - 8:00 PM 3/4/2019 8:00:00 PM
Milton Carpenter Funeral Home

569 N. First St.
Dixon, CA 95620

Milton Carpenter Funeral Home
569 N. First St. Dixon 95620 CA
United States





11:00 AM 3/5/2019 11:00:00 AM
Sacramento Valley National Cemetery

5810 Midway Rd.
Dixon, CA 95620

Sacramento Valley National Cemetery
5810 Midway Rd. Dixon 95620 CA
United States

Cemetery Details


Sacramento Valley National Cemetery Final Resting Place

5810 Midway Rd.
Dixon, CA 95620

5810 Midway Rd. Dixon 95620 CA
United States

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