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Charles Ford, Ph.D.: 1941-2018

Charles Ford, Ph.D., professor emeritus of mathematics and former director of the computer science program, died March 19. He was 76.

Charles E. Ford, Ph.D.

Ford joined the Saint Louis University faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics in 1976. He was promoted to associate professor in 1979 and went on to retire from SLU as professor emeritus in 2010.

Bryan Clair, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, joined the faculty in 2000 and found both a colleague and a good friend in Ford.

“I hit it off with Charles from the day I came to St. Louis, when he took me on an unconventional tour of the city and its old buildings,” Clair said. “He helped me get started teaching computer science and mentored me through my development as a professor at SLU.  We loved talking about algebra, urban issues, religion and the history of mathematics, and he drew many a student into these conversations as well.

James Hebda, Ph.D., professor and previous chair of the department, said Ford was instrumental in the development and advancement of the computer science program in the 1980s and 1990s, when he served as director of the certificate program, developed courses in statistics and data processing, and later became director of the computer science program.

“Charles was a friend and colleague who contributed significantly to the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science,” Hebda said. ”He provided effective leadership to the CS program during a critical time in its development.  However, Charles was not someone who was narrowly focused on math or CS. He had wide ranging interests and strongly held beliefs and would talk to anyone about them.  He also had a deep faith which must have been a comfort to him during the difficulties of the last few years. 

Ford received his undergraduate degree in mathematics at the University of Chicago before earning his Ph.D. at the University of Oregon. He went on to do post-graduate work at the University of Toronto and Washington University.

Ford was preceded in death by his parents Daniel and Olga Ford, and brothers William, Stephen and Ronald. He is survived by a sister, Geraldine Jensen, and a brother, Daniel Ford.

A memorial service was held Wednesday, March 21, at Timothy Lutheran Church. Donations in remembrance of Dr. Ford can made to Timothy Lutheran Church, 6704 Fyler Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63139