Grace Jacqueline Ford was born on August 14, 1929, in Kansas City, MO. She was the fourth child of Genevieve Hawkins Taylor and Bert Taylor. She was given the first name Grace in memory of her mother’s deceased sister, Grace Hawkins Williams, who had died four years before her birth.
Grace grew up in Kansas City, MO, and became a Christian at age nine through Paseo Baptist Church in Kansas City, MO, and was baptized on Easter Sunday in 1938. After high school graduation, she attended Lincoln University where she met her husband to be, Joseph K. Ford. They became engaged in 1947 and then married in 1948. At that time, they made their home in Webster Groves, MO. Together they had three children, the first child died at birth in 1953. In 1954, a son was born, Joseph K. Ford, Jr. The Ford’s first became members of First Baptist Church in 1955. In 1958, they moved to Port Arthur, Texas, where her husband had been transferred from the North Webster Groves YMCA to a YMCA there. While in Texas, a daughter was born in 1960 and was given Grace’s maternal grandmother’s name, Dorenda.
In 1961, the family decided to move back to Webster Groves, MO. At that time Grace went to work for the Missouri Department of Family Services and, along with her family, renewed her membership at First Baptist Church of Webster Groves. She retired from employment after 21-1/2 years and became a part of a Webster Groves Ecumenical organization of churches from South Webster and North Webster to organize a service ministry for people in need and living in Webster Groves and Rock Hill. In 1982 the Webster-Rock Hill Ministry was formed. Grace opened its first doors for services in a space made temporarily available by the Hearing and Speech Center located on Manchester Road.
Grace’s greatest enjoyment in life was becoming a Christian and in serving through various church efforts and beginning new ones. During her first three years of membership at First Baptist Church of Webster Groves, she served as one of the church organist and pianist. Other things followed. She taught Sunday School classes for primary children and adults and was the Children’s Choir Director for three years. Grace suggested the organization of the first Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church in 1961. Along with the Sunday School Superintendent at that time, Hallie L. Young, they put in motion the necessary efforts to do so. Vacation Bible School continued for 37 years. She served as president of the Women’s Missionary Union, led in starting the first church library, organized the first Children’s Church, and also organized the first Tape Ministry. Grace was appointed as Director of Christian Education by a former Pastor – Reverend Neal J. Haynes. Pastor Wendell Bonner appointed her chairman for the first Spiritually Seasoned Saints Ministry for senior citizens of the church and community. In 1997, her church recognized her for her contributions to Christian Education, as well as her innovativeness.
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