Isabel Wisner Ford, 96, of Marion, Massachusetts passed away peacefully Sunday, April 26, 2015, under the loving care of the aides at Emeritus Dartmouth Village, Hospice and her eight children and nearby grandchildren. Born in 1918 in Eaglesmere, Pennsylvania, Isabel was the first of Harriet Kirkus Wisner and Paul Wisner’s three daughters. She grew up in Summit, New Jersey and summered in Marion, Massachusetts. Creatively gifted, Isabel attended The Art Students League in New York City and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Horticulture at Ambler in 1939 with a degree in Landscape Design. In 1940, she married Rodney Milne Ford, her husband of 59 years, who predeceased her in 1999.
Following a military posting in Florida during World War II, Isabel and Rodney settled in then rural Watchung, New Jersey, where they raised a family of nine children, many beloved dogs and, at times, goats and horses. Living in the country allowed Isabel to apply her creative energy to gardening at home and for the Watchung Garden Club. Her outdoor work continued when she and Rodney retired to Marion in 1988. There, one of her lasting landscape legacies resulted from the many hours she devoted to tending the wetlands at Spragues Cove, adjacent to Marion’s Silvershell Beach. A true competitor, she excelled at duplicate bridge. From her earliest years, Isabel sailed the waters of Buzzards Bay with fearless competency, though a tranquil kayak paddle with her grandchildren was her preference in later life. Quiet and retiring, Isabel was a wonderful listener and gentle encourager. Time spent with Isabel made one feel as if they and their joys and concerns were all that mattered to her. And, in that moment, that was absolutely true.
Isabel was predeceased by her son, Michael, and her sisters, Virginia Nicholson and Eleanor Gural. She is survived by eight children: Virginia Malachuk, Christopher Ford, Priscilla Dower, Bruce Ford, Isabel Lynn Simpson, Kimberly Tulloch, Amy Ford and Jennifer Reisinger and seventeen grandchildren: Daniel Malachuk, Michael Malachuk, Katherine Malachuk, Jay Dower, David Dower, Emily Ford, Kelly Ford, Peter Simpson, Frederick Simpson, Isabel Tulloch, William Tulloch, Christopher Tulloch, Jared Tyndall, Jillian Tyndall, Caitlin Reisinger, Patrick Reisinger and Zachery Reisinger and seven great-grandchildren.
Interment with the immediate family will be at the Springdale United Methodist Church in Warren, New Jersey. A memorial service celebrating Isabel’s life will be held at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Marion at 11 a.m. on July 15. Remembering both Isabel’s and Rodney’s faithful service to saving the waters of Buzzards Bay, the family suggests donations to The Buzzards Bay Coalition. Arrangements are with the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals, 50 County Rd., Route 6, Mattapoisett. For online guestbook, please visit www.saundersdwyer.com.