Michael Ford had a passion for family

By: Dave Krizman Journal correspondent
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On a day reserved exclusively for the future, for hopes, for dreams, for paths uncharted, the graduates of 2009 tossed their caps joyously into the air. On that same Saturday, Dave and Lori Ford, longtime residents of Auburn, received the phone call that all parents dread. Michael Ford, their 19-year-old son, graduate of St. Joseph in Auburn, graduate of Jesuit High School in Carmichael, and a soon-to-be sophomore at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, had died. “They are supposed to bury us. We are not supposed to bury our children,” said Lori Ford, Michael’s mother, overcome with grief. At a very young age, it was evident that Michael Ford was a natural with a basketball in his hands. Under the guidance of his father and assistant coach Chris Dawson, Michael Ford led the Brass Monkeys, St. Joseph’s Auburn Recreation District basketball team, to a second-place finish his third-grade year and a championship his fourth-grade year. For the next four years, he played for the Sierra Express, the Colfax-area AAU team. He and the rest of his Sierra Express buddies traveled the U.S. playing in AAU National championships. They found success in New Orleans, La., Cocoa Beach, Fla., and Las Vegas, Nev. Affectionately nicknamed “Big Cat” for his combination of speed and strength, Michael Ford was quickly making a name for himself in the Sacramento basketball scene. By now, Jesuit High School had identified Michael as a future star for their high-powered program. His deep commitment to Catholicism made it a natural choice for Michael Ford to follow his sisters, Teresa and Claire, and his brother John to the Jesuit campus. He would not disappointment them. Michael Ford was a three-year varsity player and instrumental in helping Jesuit win back-to-back California Interscholastic Federation championships his sophomore and junior years. For most of Michael Ford’s junior year, Jesuit was the No. 1-rated high school in California. In his senior year, he led the team in minutes and scoring. Those who were close to Michael Ford also remember him as one of those rare people who would brighten up the room the moment he walked in. “Michael was always the life of the party, said Scott Krizman, a Sierra Express teammate for four years. “He was 100 percent fun, and the real fun began when Michael arrived.” But there was more to Michael Ford than his basketball skills and dazzling personality. Michael Ford was all about family. His love and devotion for his family went far beyond the typical 19-year-old. Given a choice, Michael Ford would spend time with his brother and sisters in the Bay Area. Dave and Lori Ford took great pleasure in seeing their children bond. Many friends and family members have said Michael Ford’s life ended far too early. No one will knows what path Michael Ford would have ultimately chosen. What is known is what Michael Ford left behind: his future, the crushed hearts of his parents, the crushed hearts of his brothers and sisters, perhaps some dirty laundry, perhaps a car with a gas tank on empty, and the anguish of friends who ask, “Why?” Service arrangements are currently being made. Father Peter Bosque, former pastor at St. Teresa’s is helping the Fords through this difficult time.