Funeral services will be held for Dr. Willie Byrd Dillard Ford, on Saturday at 11 a.m. at New Rocky Valley Baptist Church in Grambling. The church is located on 2155 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., pastored by Rev. Julius Sumler.
A visitation will be held from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20 at King’s Funeral Home, 1511 W. Calif. Ave., Ruston.
Dr. Ford was the oldest of the three children born to the late Willie M Dillard and Grace Roby Dillard in Greenwood, Mississippi. She accepted Christ at an early age and was affiliated with the strangers Home Missionary Baptist Church in Greenwood.
Her elementary and secondary education took place in Greenwood, MS. Her higher education included the Bachelor’s and the Master’s degrees from Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
In 1955, Byrd was employed at Grambling State University (GSU). “Aunt Byrd” (as she was affectionately called by many friends and students) became an active member of the community, and affiliated at the New Rocky Valley Baptist Church.In earlier years she taught Sunday school. Before she became active in the Deborah Circle of the church and was serving as secretary until her untimely passing.
She and her husband participated in many professional, religious, and social activities together. For many years they enjoyed activities of Omega Psi Phi and Quetts. She was a member of the Tuskegee’s University Gamma Tau Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Her teaching experiences began at GSU and continued at the University of Iowa where she pursued and warned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Education. Having completed her studies, the Fords returned and settled in Grambling, Louisiana where she continued her employment. Among her participation in her professional, academic and honorary organizations were the Louisiana Home Economics Association, American Dietetic Association, Louisiana Dietetic Association, American Dietetic Association, American Vocational Association, Omicron Nu, Phi Upsilon Omicron, Pi Lambda Theta, Beta Kappa Chi, and Alpha Kappa Mu.
Her research and publications included the assessment of the Nutritional Knowledge of head Start teachers in Louisiana. She also developed a teaching program and manual for Nutrition education for Daycare and head Start Teachers. Some of her publications and research included: Consulting editor of the Scott and Serger Companies. Effect of each of 8 EAA on Nitrogen Balance in fats, Professional data of selected college home economics teachers, Dietary Pattern of Low-Income Families in Greenwood Mississippi.
After 40 years of employment she retired from Grambling having served as professor and acting head of the home economics department.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, John (daisy) and her husband of 51 years, Luther Lee Ford. She will be missed and always remembered by her sister Dr. Grace D Tatem, two nieces, Dr. Beatrice A Tatem and Lya M Dillard, Two Nephews, G. Maurice Dillard (Venus) William B. Dillard, Audrey Warren and Alimeta Anderson Zinnerman (Alex), goddaughters, Joseph Anderson (Lena), godson and numerous family and friends. She will be greatly missed by all for her love, generosity, kindness, hospitality and quick wit.