Harold Ford, retired executive director of what was then Southeastern Poultry & Egg Association (now U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, Tucker, Ga.), passed away Dec. Harold Ford obit14.

In 1954, Ford, a Kentucky native, joined the association staff at its headquarters in Richmond, Va. In 1957, he was named executive secretary of the association, commonly called SOUTHEASTERN. The headquarters then moved to Decatur, Ga. In 1961, Ford left the association to join Mar-Jac Poultry Co. in Gainesville, Ga. In 1967, he was asked by the SOUTHEASTERN board of directors to return as executive secretary. Then, he guided the association to prominence as one of the most effective and influential trade associations, not only in the poultry industry, but throughout the United States. He grew the organization’s signature event, the International Poultry Expo, to become the largest, preeminent poultry industry convention and tradeshow in the world. Ford retired in 1992.

The association’s foundation is named after him, along with the organization’s highest recognition, the Harold E. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also inducted into the Poultry Industry Hall of Fame. Following his retirement from SOUTHEASTERN, Ford was active in volunteer work with organizations such as Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Prevent Blindness Georgia, the Paralympics and the Atlanta Community Food Bank. He served as a deacon in the Baptist faith most of his adult life. During World War II, he was a U.S. Marine in the South Pacific. He also was an avid golfer.

Ford was preceded in death by his wife Wanda. He is survived by three daughters: Karen, Debbie and Anita, along with grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Visitation is Dec. 16 from 4-6 p.m. at A.S. Turner Funeral Home in Decatur, Ga. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Dec. 17 at Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Ga.