Bruce Ford

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Bruce Ford was born on November 4, 1951 at his parent’s home to Jerome and Frances (Gamel) Ford, in O’Neill, Nebraska during a snowstorm. He was the 4th born of 11 children. He died June 10, 2017 at his home in Fairfax, South Dakota at the age of 65. Bruce attended O’Neill public schools until age 16. At that time he dropped out of school and went to Pine Ridge Job Corps near Chadron, Nebraska. He graduated from Job Corps in 1969 as a welder and with a GED. Bruce was one of the first students at the Job Corps to be inducted into the 60’s Club, which is a club exclusively for students and alumni who receive an average score of 60 or higher on their GED exam. Over the next 15 years, Bruce worked as a coast-to-coast truck driver, as a mechanic in the uranium mines of Wyoming, as a motel owner in Lander, Wyoming, and as a manager with ConAgra. Bruce married Jean Spragg in 1969. They had a son, Brian. Bruce and Jean divorced in 1981, and he left Wyoming and returned to O’Neill where he met and married, Debra Nolan, on January 21, 1983. In 1984 Bruce again made the trip to Chadron, Nebraska to attend Chadron State College as a math and education major. He graduated in 1989 and was offered a position as a math teacher at the Pine Ridge Job Corps. After teaching math at Pine Ridge for two years, he returned to the mountains of Wyoming and taught math for three years at Northwest Community College in Powell, Wyoming. During his time at Northwest, he also developed a summer college program at Yellowstone National Park for students working in the park. Bruce and Deb spent two summers in Yellowstone as Bruce served as director of the college program. Then in 1995, Bruce reentered Chadron State College and began work on his Master’s degree in Education Administration. Following completion of his degree in 1996, Bruce became the Superintendent of Schools in Oelrichs, South Dakota. In 1998, Bruce and Deb adopted two at-risk children, Michael and Crystal. Then in 1999, Bruce became the principal of Chamberlain High School in Chamberlain, South Dakota. In 1999, Bruce was one of the first six inductees in the Pine Ridge Job Corps Center’s Hall of Fame. Then in 2002, Bruce was inducted into the United States Department of Labor Office of Job Corps Hall of Fame at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. Those left to cherish his memory are his wife, Deb, of Fairfax; his son Brian (Heather) of Grand Island, NE; his daughter Crystal of Oacoma, SD; his grandchildren, Layla and Eli; his siblings: Jay (Dan) Schaaf of Atkinson, NE, Jerry (Cheryl) Ford of Lincoln, NE, Sue Cook of Howells, NE, Carol Tenberg of O’Neill, NE, Brenda (Bob) Halstead of O’Neill, NE, Nancy (Dennis) Lines of O’Neill, NE, Craig Ford of Omaha, NE, Jon (Emma) Ford of Evansville, MN, Terri (Kevin) Wolfgram of Columbus, NE, Steve Ford of O’Neill, NE, his in-laws Elden and Nola Nolan, brother-in-law Dennis (Joleen) Nolan, brother-inlaw Darell Nolan, brother-inlaw Dan (Brenda) Nolan and many nieces, nephews, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents Jerome and Frances Ford. Memorial services for Bruce Ford, age 65, of Fairfax, SD will be held on Friday, June 16, 2017 at 11:00 AM at the City Hall in Fairfax, South Dakota. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the Hall.

Chamberlain Sun

116 S. Main Street 
Chamberlain, South Dakota 57325 

(605) 234-1444 (o)
(605) 234-1445 (f)