Eldon Ford was born April 19, 1937, in Como, Texas to Lonnie Ford and Myrtle Pittman. Eldon was the youngest. His brother Lonnie Ford Jr. and sister Bobbie Jean Ford-Hollins preceded him in death. Eldon attended Sandfield elementary and junior high school in Como, Texas.
Eldon grew up spending extended periods of time with his grandmother Georgia White-Pittman in Como, Texas. He often said she was like a mother to him. He would spend his summers with his mom in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
In 1952 Eldon entered Douglas High School in Sulphur Springs, Texas as a freshman. He was an outstanding athlete playing on the school’s varsity baseball and football teams. Math and Spanish were favorite subjects and Eldon was on the Douglas High School math team as well. Eldon's personality made him popular and well-liked. During high school he began to date Wyvonne Harrison. Eldon graduated from Douglas High School in 1956.
On December 23, 1956, Eldon married his high school sweetheart Wyvonne Harrison in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Eldon’s father, Lonnie Sr. was living in Odessa, Texas and encouraged Eldon to move with his wife to Odessa for job opportunities. They moved to Odessa in 1957 where Eldon found work. Shortly after moving to Odessa Eldon felt the calling to join the U.S. Army and was stationed in Ft. Carson Colorado for one year and became a reservist for a few years after.
When Eldon returned to Odessa from the Army he also returned to his former employer Shook Tire Company. After being employed with Shook Tire Company for several years Eldon took a job with Phillips Petroleum as an oil field worker. Eldon would work for Phillips for many years until 1971 when on one day there was a companywide layoff.
Eldon was a natural entrepreneur and because of the layoff and a need to make a living to support his family he formed Eldon Ford’s Tire Service with a single service truck. Eldon would grow his fleet of service trucks to ten trucks, becoming the #1 provider of large tire repair and Michelin large tire sales in a 50-mile radius around Odessa. He had turned a desperate need to earn a living into a million dollar a year tire sales and service business.
During his years in Odessa Eldon was a member of St. James Baptist Church. During the years Eldon worked for Shook Tire and Phillips Petroleum he continued his love of sports playing semi-pro football as a member of the Odessa Comets / West Texas Roughnecks and he would also become a barber.
In 1981 Eldon sold his business and moved back to Sulphur Springs, his childhood home, once again turning his entrepreneurial spirit into the dairy business in 1982. He operated the dairy until 2006, retiring after having a mild stroke. He was a faithful member of Morning Chapel Baptist Church.
Eldon was a man of many talents. He was always teaching himself new skills and turning them into ways to make a living. He could paint cars. He could weld. He could repair cars as good as any mechanic. He was electrician, a plumber and the list goes on. He was the ultimate jack of all trades.
He was one of the hardest working people you’d ever meet. He was one of the most giving people you’d ever meet, willing to give you the shirt off his back. He had a charismatic personality, a great sense of humor, and a beautiful smile which often helped him in business or personal relationships. He could turn nothing into something. He loved mentoring young people, often volunteering to coach peewee baseball and football teams or just sit and talk providing wisdom. He was a friend to all and a source of experience to many, often, along with Wyvonne, adopting young couples to share a lifetime of knowledge.
Eldon loved and supported all of his children, giving them all the skills necessary to be successful in life. He could always be depended on to be present at any occasion to show support for his children and grandchildren. He didn’t miss a holiday, graduation or wedding, frequently visiting his extended family in Chicago, Atlanta, Oklahoma and Texas. He loved his family and God.
Eldon was a loving husband and provider for Wyvonne, his bride of 65 years who preceded him in death in 2022. She was the” Love of His Life.” His son Tony was his devoted caregiver after her death living with Eldon for four months in Sulphur Springs and moving him to Chicago so he could care for his beloved father until his death.
Eldon is survived by his son Tony (Pamela) and daughters Marlena (Phillip) and Pamela. His daughter Renee (Darrell Sr.) and son Tyree preceded him in death. Left to cherish his memory are 14 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren along with many family and friends.
I will be a father to him, and he'll be a son to me. When he does wrong, I'll discipline him in the usual ways, the pitfalls and obstacles of this mortal life. But I'll never remove my gracious love from him." 2 Samuel 7:14-15
Eldon passed away on July 22, 2023. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, August 4, 2023, at West Oaks Funeral Home, 500 S Hillcrest Dr., Sulphur Springs, TX 75482. Graveside service will be held at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, August 5, 2023, at North Caney Cemetery, 713 County Road 4766, Sulphur Springs, TX 75482. Arrangements are under the direction of West Oaks Funeral Home. www.westoaksfuneralhome.com