1883 – 1939 (February 27)
Cornelius John Ford, son of John Ford and Honora Mahoney, was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on October 7, 1883, and baptized the following day in Saint Mary's Church, Lawrence. He received his early education at Saint Mary's Parochial School and Saint Mary's High School before entering Villanova College. Cornelius was professed on June 30, 1903, and was ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, May 25, 1907, at Saint Charles Seminary, Overbrook, Pennsylvania, by Patrick J. Ryan, Archbishop of Philadelphia. The following day Father Ford celebrated his first Solemn High Mass in Saint Mary's Church, Lawrence, Mass.
Father Ford's first assignment was to Saint Rita High School, Chicago, Illinois, where he taught classes, served as disciplinarian and later was appointed rector of the school. In 1923, he was sent to Aurora, Illinois, to found a new high school. In 1933, he became prior and pastor of Saint Mary's Parish, Rockford, Ill. After health problems began to limit his abilities, he left Rockford for Phoenix, Arizona, in January, 1939, hoping to regain his health at Saint Joseph Hospital.
Father Ford’s condition steadily worsened, and death came shortly after, on February 27, 1939. His body was brought back to Rockford where it was met by, among others, seventy-four Knights of Columbus from Chicago, whose chaplain he had been for twenty-one years, and who stood honor guard throughout the night, until Solemn Mass was celebrated by Edward F. Hoban, Bishop of Rockford, at Saint Mary's Church, Rockford, with one-hundred and thirty-five priests in attendance.
Father Ford's body was transferred that day to Lawrence, Massachusetts, where a Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated in Saint Mary's Church at which many friars, priests, and religious from the Greater Lawrence community attended. Prior Provincial John T. Sheehan, O.S.A. celebrated the Mass. Interment took place in the Augustinian section of Saint Mary's Cemetery, Lawrence, Massachusetts.