OBITUARY: Dr. Arthur Milton Ford Jr.


Dr. Arthur Milton Ford, Jr., age 89, passed away peacefully at Alive Hospice in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on December 26, 2023.

Arthur was born on February 26, 1934, in Syracuse, New York, the youngest of four children born to Arthur and Genevieve Ford.

Arthur was reared by his paternal grandmother, and it was through her he developed a life-long love of God and the Bible. After high school, Arthur joined the United States Marine Corps receiving an Honorable Discharge. Upon completion of his military service, he attended Syracuse University and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in 1963. In 1967 he earned his Master’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from Wayne State University and completed his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Michigan State University in 1972.

Following his graduate studies, Arthur completed his clinical internship in Psychology at Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. Subsequently, Arthur went on to teach five years in the Psychology Department and Clinic at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. It was there he was recruited by Meharry Medical College to develop their program in Behavioral Medicine. He spent the next twenty-five years at Meharry as both professor and researcher in the Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine.

In addition, during his tenure at Meharry, he taught at Tennessee State University and Fisk University, and he consulted with the Tennessee Department of Human Services. During this period, Arthur also maintained a private clinical practice specializing in psychodiagnostics and psychotherapy. He later served as a professor in the Department of Psychology at Middle Tennessee State University.

During his years of study and work, Arthur was active in his church, serving in numerous roles. He completed his theological studies at Scarritt College and Vanderbilt University, becoming a Deacon in the United Methodist Church in 1982 and an Ordained Minister in 1996. He has pastored at Lillard Chapel UMC, Emery UMC, Key Memorial UMC, and Braden UMC. He was a beloved member of St. Mark’s UMC and the Seekers Sunday school class.

Arthur was very active in the community and served as an officer or member on numerous community agency boards and committees. Some of these included the MANNA Hunger Program, Metropolitan Nashville Prison Ministry, Middle Tennessee Heart and Cancer Associations, 18th Avenue Center, Beck African American Cultural Center, NAACP, Jennings and Rebecca Jones Literacy Council, Read to Succeed, and the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of Murfreesboro.

Arthur also had a passion for music and was an accomplished musician. His love for music was only surpassed by his love of golf. He was an outstanding golfer and played regularly several times per week up until very recently.

Arthur is survived by his sons: Donald Ford, Arthur (Mattassebia Kanno) Ford III, Rodney (Gillian Apfel) Ford, and Leon (Glenda) Saddler. He is also survived by nine grandchildren, his sister June, former spouse Anne Fields Ford, and his beloved nephew Stephen (Nancy) Linton. Arthur was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters (Ruth, Hazel).

Arthur’s life has been governed by his two favorite passages of scripture: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest Commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39) and “So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another” (Romans 14:19).

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to St. Mark’s UMC designated for the Arthur M. Ford Educational Trust at Syracuse University in c/o St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 1267 N. Rutherford Blvd., Murfreesboro, TN 37130.

Services and interment will be in Syracuse, NY, on Thursday, 1/4. A Celebration of Life will be held at St. Mark’s UMC in Murfreesboro on Sunday, 2/25 at 3:00 PM.


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