ADA — Hallie Brown Ford, East Central University’s greatest benefactor, has died at age 102 in Monmouth, Ore.

Ford died June 4 after a brief illness, her family said.

Although she did not attend ECU’s first Evening of Awards and Recognition on May 11, Ford was honored with the Distinguished Philanthropist Award for her many gifts to the university. The award in future years will be named the Hallie Brown Ford Award for Philanthropy.

“East Central University has lost a great friend,” said ECU President Richard Rafes. “Everyone who receives a scholarship she has endowed or visits our library benefits from one of her gifts. The Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center will be a very visible reminder of her generosity.

“We will remember her with fondness and appreciation.” 

Ford has given approximately $7 million to ECU. She donated funds to establish and enhance ECU’s Francisco-Hatchett Scholarships and to furnish and equip the new Linscheid Library.

Her $5.25 million gift to the ECU Foundation Inc., the largest private gift to benefit the university, was the start of the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center project now under construction. An additional $650,000 gift was earmarked for audio equipment for the center and for scholarship funds.

ECU named her a Distinguished Alumna in 1992.

Ford was born in Red Fork, Indian Territory, March 17, 1905. She was valedictorian of her graduating class at Beggs High School and put herself through ECU, graduating in 1930 with a teaching certificate. She taught briefly in Oklahoma then followed her parents to Oregon where she taught in the Lebanon area.

She married Kenneth W. Ford in 1935 and moved to Roseburg, Ore. She played an active role with him in establishing and growing Roseburg Lumber Co., now known as Roseburg Forest Products Co.

She became an active leader in business and community affairs and a generous supporter of education and the arts. She was one of the founders in 1957 of the Ford Family Foundation which has helped numerous arts organizations, universities and scholarship recipients, primarily in Oregon.

Ford lived frugally, her family said, and reserved most of her wealth to benefit others. The foundation’s web site quotes her belief that “It’s not what you have, but what you give to your family, your community and your country.”

She was the benefactor for the Hallie Ford Museum at Willamette University and the future Ford Hall for academic instruction to include digital art and film studies. Just before her death she endowed the Ford Institute for Visional Education at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Ore. Her last philanthropic gift will establish the Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families at Oregon State University.

Among her awards were the Governor’s Arts Award for Arts Patronage and Support of Arts Scholarship Programs in 1996 and the Roseburg First Citizens Award from the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce in 1967.

She is survived by a daughter, Carmen Ford Phillips of Monmouth, Ore., who represented her mother at the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center; a son, Allyn Ford of Roseburg; six grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

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