GEORGETOWN — Tidelands Health's long-time former board chairman, Francis "Jeep" Ford Sr. died Sept. 20, the hospital announced.
Ford served Tidelands Health Board of Trustees for 33 years, with the majority of that time spent as chairman before he retired in 2009.
Under Ford’s leadership, the Waccamaw Community Hospital in Murrells Inlet, HealthPoint – Center for Health and Fitness in Pawleys Island and The Imaging and Breast Health Center in Murrells Inlet all opened.
The Tidelands Health Francis B. Ford Cancer Treatment Center in Georgetown bears his name as "a tribute to a man whose passion and perseverance truly transformed the health and lives of the entire community," the hospital said in its statement.
Ford's father, Albert Ford, was commander of the local American Legion Post in the 1940s that initiated plans to build what is now Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Jeep Ford's uncle, Dr. Francis Arthur Bell, was one of the first physicians to practice at that hospital.
Ford received the S.C. Hospital Association’s Distinguished Trustee Award in 2000, and the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. The hospital association further honored Ford again earlier this year as one of the “100 Faces of Healthcare” in South Carolina.
“We extend our love and condolences to Mr. Ford’s devoted wife, Weezie, and the entire Ford family,” J. Edward Norris III, chairman of the Tidelands Health board of trustees, said in a statement. “We hope it is some comfort to them to know his legacy will endure across our health system, in the lives of our patients and throughout the communities we serve.”
Ford’s son, Francis “Jeepy” Ford Jr., serves as a member of the Tidelands Health board of trustees.