Michelle Marie Ford died on December 9, 2020 in Turlock, CA after an acute illness.
Michelle was born on March 5,1955 at Nellis AFB in Indian Springs, NV. A proud “Air Force brat,” Michelle lived in 5 different states and 3 foreign countries during her life before settling in California’s Central Valley in 1975. She graduated with a Master’s of Science degree in Microbiology from CSU, Stanislaus, and worked for the City of Turlock Wastewater Treatment facility for over 30 years as a Water Quality Analyst. A lifelong advocate for animal rescue and the environment, Michelle volunteered her time at the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center and fostered many unusual critters during her tenure there. She gave a warm and indulgent home to many kitties over the years.
Michelle loved the beach, and spent time in college doing field research at the Moss Landing Marine Labs. She was a founding member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. She loved the ocean and all of the miraculous creatures living there. She loved studying everything, from the tiniest bits of matter under an electron microscope, to the stars and planets above. She truly embodied the spirit of scientific discovery and had “an appetite for wonder.”
Michelle was a scientist first, but she also loved good sci-fi, most notably the classic Star Trek (and Mr. Spock in particular.) She was an avid gem collector who never missed a Rock and Mineral show, and took many of her nieces and nephews over the years to learn the wonders of gems and crystals, a hobby that became lifelong for many of them. For a time she studied jewelry making and crafted several beautiful pieces for friends and family. She loved all kinds of music but classic rock and folk were among her favorites. She was a natural teacher who never passed up a chance to give a young person a little help with their science or math homework.
Michelle is survived by her heartbroken family: her mother, Rosemarie Ford of Atwater, CA; siblings Linda (Kyle) Timm of Sandy, UT; Anita (Ron) Beebe of Coarsegold, CA; Charles (Rene) Ford of Crescent City, CA; Valerie (Larry) LeMay of Fresno, CA; Melissa (Tom) Westerdoll of Atwater, CA; and Hilary (Val) Dumitrescu of Silverton, OR; 14 nieces and nephews, and 10 great-nieces and nephews. She joins in a joyful heavenly reunion her father, Lt. Col. Clifford G. Ford and her sister, Christine Domitrovich.
Our beloved daughter, sister, and aunt was taken far too soon. Due to COVID restrictions, a memorial service will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that, to honor Michelle, you call a friend or relative who you haven’t talked to in a while, adopt or foster an animal who might be in need, or make a donation to your favorite local charity.