TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Toledo City Councilman and former Toledo Mayor Jack Ford passed away Saturday morning at the age of 67. The cause of death is unknown at this time but it is confirmed that he was ill and went into cardiac arrest at his home.
According to a
, "He passed away this morning, Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the Toledo Hospital, surrounded by his loving family and dear friends. Services are pending and will be announced on Monday, March 23, 2015. The family does ask for privacy and prayers during this difficult time."
Ford was elected as elected as mayor in 2001 and served from 2002 to 2006, in between the two terms served by Mayor Carty Finkbeiner. He also served on the Toledo Public School Board and worked for many years as an educator, teaching at the University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University and Owens Community College. He served in the Ohio House of Representatives for seven years and was the first African-American minority leader.
“Mayor Ford's lifelong commitment to public service and education was a testament to his dedication to the people of Toledo. He broke barriers as Toledo's first African-American mayor and he continued the tradition of advocating for equality and justice that he began while serving as Ohio's House Minority Leader. Connie and I will keep his family in our thoughts and prayers,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.
“Jack Ford had an amazing public service career. I know Jack was proud to serve as the first African-American minority leader in the history of the Ohio House of Representatives. He was as committed to his ideals as any leader I have known. This is another terrible shock to the Toledo community," said Senator Randy Gardner.
"On behalf of the Diocese of Toledo and in my own name, I offer deep sympathies and assurance of prayers for his family, the people of Toledo, and all who mourn his loss," said Bishop Daniel E. Thomas.
"Jack Ford has been my very close friend for 35 years," said former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner. "Although we ran against each other for mayor in 2009, once that election was over our friendship resumed and got stronger. As able a community leader as Jack was, I considered him to be much more a friend than a fellow politician. I will miss him as a friend very much."
"I am truly honored to have known him, to have worked with him, to be apart of his circle, and I'm very saddened by his loss because he was a great man," said Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson.
"On behalf of the Board of Education and Toledo Public Schools, We wish to extend our condolences to the Ford family. Jack Ford served one term on the Board of Education and during that time he worked to expand the academic offerings of the district and improve operations. He asked tough questions and encouraged everyone to think beyond what had been done in the past. His leadership helped to guide Toledo Public Schools to new levels of success. We applaud his commitment to public service and dedication to the City of Toledo," said School Board President Bob Vasquez.
Ford is the third Toledo mayor to pass away this year, following the death of Mayor D. Michael Collins in February and former Mayor John McHugh in January.
WTOL will bring you the latest as it comes in on air and online.