James M. Ford, born on December 26, 1965, passed away on June 28th at the age of 53. He is survived by his devoted wife, Rebeca, and their sons David José and Daniel Luis. He was the beloved son of Laura Ford and brother to Jef, Troy, Brian and Darren Ford. The son of Jonnie Ford. He was also the adored son-in-law of Jose Luis Muñoz Cano and Rebeca Esther Maldonado. He is predeceased by his brother, Derrick, as well as his brother-in-law Luis Muñoz Cano.
In addition to his numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins, he also leaves behind a multitude of friends from all over the world who loved him deeply. He was blessed to be part of the wonderful nurturing community of Pocantico Hills and was a dedicated and committed member of Church of Magdalene.
James attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in the Army. Afterwards he served briefly for Henry Kissinger before being hired by David Rockefeller as his personal assistant. For the next 25 years they forged a special bond in which James served as his behind-the-scenes security, advance man and confidante. Much of those years included travelling the world and assisting the great philanthropist and statesman in his work on the world stage.
On a local level, with the backing and support of Mr. Rockefeller, and his daughter Peggy Dulany, James set about bringing the right people together to create The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, as a memorial for Peggy Rockefeller who died in 1996. Stone Barns opened in May 2004 and set the standard for “farm-to-table” dining. Next to his family, this was one of James’ proudest accomplishments
The family of the late David Rockefeller said, “We are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic loss of James Ford. For more than two decades, James was a treasured family associate, who worked closely and traveled the world with David Rockefeller.
“In his evolving role with Mr. Rockefeller over the years, James contributed mightily to many important projects, among them his pivotal role in the development and management of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. James served as the first executive director of the Stone Barns and was a longtime member of its Board. Today, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is an internationally-known destination for sustainable farming practices.”
“James was a larger than life personality and a valued employee. We send our deepest sympathy to his wonderful family, his wife Rebeca and their two sons, David and Daniel.”
James was a very generous and loyal friend. Stories abound about how James performed countless kindnesses for others in simple and unheralded ways. He had many well-informed opinions on every topic, developed through his many years working by Mr. Rockefeller’s side, as well as from his love of reading about all subjects. His passions were many – first and foremost was being involved in his sons’ many activities, he also cherished his time with Rebeca and became a very enthusiastic dancing partner. In addition, he always enjoyed Friday afternoon golf with his close friends. A deeply dedicated friend to many, he was unrivaled in his ability to make impromptu, heartfelt toasts in which every person in the room would feel his genuine love for them.
These are just a few of the many special things we will remember about James for the rest of our lives. He will be sorely missed.
Please join us in honoring his legacy through a scholarship fund set up for his sons David and Daniel for their long-term support. Check donations only can be sent to “The James M. Ford Scholarship fund” c/o Mr. David Kaliff, 505 Piermont Avenue, Piermont, New York, 10968.