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Community Activist, Businessman Dies

Community activist and businessman, the Rev. Dr. Roger Julian Ford, passed away Thursday, June 10, at Centra Lynchburg General Hospital.

The liturgical leader for many organizations was 75.

Rev. Ford served in the United States Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 1958. He then attended St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville and later graduated from Virginia University of Lynchburg (Virginia Seminary and College).

He also received an honorary Doctorate Degree in Theology from Virginia University of Lynchburg.

In addition to owning and operating Velro Church Supply Store in Halifax with his wife, he also served as pastor of New Vernon Baptist Church in Vernon Hill for 20 years.

Many are remembering him for his extensive community service and involvement that included serving as moderator of Piedmont Sunday School Association, moderator of Rockfish Baptist Association, president of Amherst NAACP, president of Virginia State Conference NAACP, president of Halifax County/South Boston NAACP, trustee of the Baptist Children’s Home (Petersburg, VA), Southside Planning District Commission member, member of Sons of Esmont-Lodge #7444 and trustee of Virginia University of Lynchburg.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Velma Gray Ford of the home; five daughters: Lori Ford-Taylor, Nadine Ford and Francine Ford-Hill, all of Raleigh, N.C., Robin Ford of Lynchburg and Wendy Ford-Brown of South Boston; one son: Roger Ford Jr. of Madison Heights; five grandchildren: Brenton Ford, LaKeisha Ford, Danielle Ford, Julian Taylor and Ryan Ford; three sons-in-law: Alaric Taylor and Henry Hill, both of Raleigh, N.C. and Luke Brown of South Boston; one daughter-in-law: Renee Ford of Madison Heights; one sister: Juanita Anderson of Charlottesville;  one sister-in-law: Marva Simpson; two brothers-in-law: Willie Gray and Donald Gray; and a host of other relatives and friends.

A Celebration of Life service for the Rev. Dr. Roger Julian Ford will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m. with services at Halifax County High School. Burial will follow in New Hope Baptist Church cemetery in Esmont.