Ford Motor Company likes to talk about their pickups being built "Ford Tough." Here in Bourbon County, many of us had the experience of knowing Martha Ford, who passed away last week at the age of 87. If ever there was a pioneer woman, she gave new meaning to the term, "Ford Tough."
She and her husband raised a large family that included seven boys and one girl. So when Martha came back to Fort Scott Community College at age 65 to begin the nursing program, people would ask her, "What are you going to do with a nursing degree?" She replied, "I want to take care of people," something she had been doing all of her life. She finished the four-year degree in nursing at age 69, and then for 11 years was a nurse at the Uniontown nursing home.
Martha's work at nursing homes ended with a stroke that weakened her left side, but she was able to get around on her farm with the use of a walker. One of the daughters-in-law told about going out to her house, and as they pulled into the driveway, Martha hollered at them from across the road. She had lugged her chair and a pair of clippers along with her walker and was seated in the chair, using the loppers to clean up some brush.
Until the time of her death, Martha was still living in her rural home. The night she passed away, all of the immediate family was in the room with her. She chose to be cremated, and her remains were placed in an urn that had been fashioned from a hedge tree from the farm. How very fitting that this woman, who was a pioneer in so many ways, chose one of the toughest woods we know at the very end.
Throughout her well-lived life, she encouraged the family by example and was a model for all those people who might think it's too late to keep on learning. Her life was marked with caring and love of music and church to the very end.
Alison Krause sings a song with a line that goes, "When I'm in my final hour looking back." All of us would wish we could have had a life like that.