Christina Margaret Ford, 48

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Beloved mother, wife, sister, aunt and advocate, Christina Margaret Ford, 48, of Verona New Jersey, passed away on May 14, 2024 after a brief but hard-fought battle with cancer. Christina, or Chris and Chrissie as she was affectionately known, was a force from the moment she entered this world until her final breath.

On September 20, 1975, Chris was born into the loving family of David, an educator, and Margaret, a nurse. As the youngest of her four siblings, Roseann, Terry and Tricia, Chrissie was the epitome of the baby of the family – quick witted, mischievous and fiercely loyal. While the impact Chris had on her family is evident, her siblings also influenced her eclectic tastes and interests. Roseann introduced Chris to musical theater; Terry brought Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and later, break dancing (a short, but influential period); and Tricia introduced her to political activism and Tracy Chapman.

Curiosity and compassion influenced Chris’ decision to pursue a law degree from Rutgers School of Law – Camden after obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Temple University in 1998. During law school you could find Chris at the local courthouse advocating for victims of domestic violence, promoting inclusivity and awareness on behalf of gay and lesbian law students with her close friend Jim Lubrich, and interning at South Jersey Legal Services. After graduating law school in 2001, Chris served as the judicial law clerk to Hon. Mark Baber, J.S.C. where she deepened her understanding of the complex relationship between poverty, underrepresented communities, and families in crisis, which furthered her desire to leverage her law degree to improve the situations of the people around her. As a family law advocate, Chris’ private practice was family and child focused.

It was also during her clerkship that Chris met her wife, Carrie Ford (Winters). The chance meeting occurred on a night her brother Terry dragged her out with friends. Little did she know the decision to not stay home would change her life forever in the best ways possible. On August 6, 2005, Chris and Carrie held their spiritual union in front of friends and family at the Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton, N.J. Although law and society was not yet prepared to recognize Chris and Carrie as a legally married couple, their dear friend Casey Schwarz made their celebration into a wedding that represented the love and commitment they shared. Chris adored Carrie, and theirs was a beautiful partnership of love and family.

In 2005, Chris also joined South Jersey Legal Services – Camden, where she continued advocating for families and domestic violence victims and expanded her practice to assist clients faced with homelessness and help them secure disability benefits. After having her children, she reignited her passion for public interest by joining Northern New Jersey Legal Services representing disadvantaged clients in Paterson.

In 2007, Chris and Carrie were among the first couples in New Jersey to enter a Civil Union, “upgrading” the limited domestic partnership granted to them in 2005. The following year, when Chris and Carrie were debating where to live as they started to plan their family, Chris’s endearing affection for her hometown made Verona the perfect choice. And where within Verona should they call home? Again the only right choice was her childhood home on East Reid Place, where she had shared so many wonderful memories with family, neighbors and friends. Later in 2013, Chris and Carrie would become the first gay couple in Verona to be legally married.

In 2010, Theodore, her sweet talented son was born, followed in 2013 by her beautiful funny daughter Catherine, and finally by the birth of her precious loving daughter Lucille in 2017. It was no surprise that Chris embraced the role of motherhood with the same passion, drive, and humor as she did everything else in her life. Her dedication to her children was beyond measure. She nurtured their love for education, sports, and music. All the Curious Fords were united in love, appreciation for each other, loud raucous laughter, and a large circle of friends and family who adored them all. She was a beloved presence every summer at the Verona Pool, she attended her kids’ events large and small, she made life magical for her children. Her sense of mischief and wild sharp sense of humor were legendary. She loved to make people laugh and she was as funny as she was brilliant. She loved life, and loved her family even more.

Chris was the kind of person that made everyone around her feel good—her warmth, humor, and unique ability to find common ground within seconds of meeting someone, anyone, was her super power. From childhood, she collected friends who adored her—so many of her F.N. Brown Elementary, H.B. Whitehorne Middle School, and Verona High School classmates remain loyal friends. She lived her beliefs, creating the community she wanted in the town she loved. Verona is a more joyful and open-hearted place because of her. From block parties, NY Red Bulls games, and annual beach vacations, she created countless big, beautiful memories for all the people she loved, especially her kids.

As a lifelong Verona resident, it was one of Chris’ deepest desires, which she fulfilled, to raise the Ford children in an out-and-proud lesbian family. She worked for equality for LGBTQ+ people in the town of Verona, and her vision of inclusivity and equity inspired everyone around her. It will have a lasting impact on the community, town, and beyond.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in memory of Chris be made to True Colors United or The Food Pantry at the Church of the Holy Spirit.

True Colors United implements innovative solutions to youth homelessness by focusing on the experiences of those most impacted —LGBTQ+ and BIPOC youth.

The Food Pantry at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Verona serves people in need in the community of Essex County, New Jersey.

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1 COMMENT

  1. For anyone who would like to join, the Ford family invites you to celebrate Chris:

    Visiting at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church
    36 Gould Street
    Verona, NJ 07044
    Sat, May 18, 2024
    2:00 – 4:00pm

    Funeral Service at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church
    4:00 – 4:45pm

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