Wilma "Dar" Darlene Ford (Dempsey)

Thursday, May 20th, 1926 - Thursday, May 28th, 2020
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Mass of Christian Burial for Wilma “Dar” Ford, 94, of Minneapolis, formerly of Tracy will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 27th, 2020, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Tracy. Visitation will take place from 5:00 -7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 26th at Horvath Remembrance Center in Tracy. Visitation will continue Saturday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. at the church. Interment will follow the service at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Tracy.

Wilma Darlene (Dempsey) Ford was born on May 20, 1926, in Great Falls, MT, to Glen and Ruth (Mefferd) Dempsey. The family lived in Litchfield and Pipestone before moving to Tracy when Dar was 12 years old. She graduated from Tracy High School and attended St. Theresa’s College in Winona. Dar fell in love and married James “Jim” Ford. While Jim was serving in the Navy, the couple lived in San Diego and Corpus Christi, and after his honorable discharge they returned to Tracy. Together, they operated Ford Real Estate and Insurance. When Dar was 50, she and two of her friends opened Mother’s Antiques and had a successful 10-year run.

Dar loved and adored her family. She was eternally in their corner through thick and thin. Whenever one of her children or grandchildren entered, her face would light up like the star she was. The welcoming she gave her family was always complete with hugs, kisses, laughter, inclusion and joy. Her Christmases alone were one for the record books. One of her favorite sayings after being with family was, “That was one of the most fun days I have ever had.” Dar had so many talents and passions, including music, art and her love for antiques. On a daily basis, music was on high when entering her house, paint brushes were on the kitchen table or being cleaned in the sink, sheet music was ready to be played on the piano, and pages from interior magazines were tagged for inspiration for future projects. She was in pure bliss when she could get her hands on an old dresser and turn it into something spectacular. Dar had a flare for fashion as well as travel. Whether it be a small town in the Midwest or a grand European city, she had an inquisitive eye for culture and design. Dar found much joy in her love of faith and the church. She was an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church where she volunteered and sang in the choir. She brought that love of singing into the car, home and of course, sing alongs with her grandchildren. She had that special gift of connecting with you and making you feel like you were the most important person in the world. She was goofy, fun loving, adorable, easy going, lovely, and kind. There are not enough adjectives to fully explain our mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She was that special woman that you always wanted to sit next to.

Ten years ago, Dar moved to Minneapolis for her healthcare. Because of Alzheimer’s, she moved to Jones Harrison Senior Living in Minneapolis. In all stages of dementia, Dar’s spirit and depth of kindness still shone through the veil of the disease. She was one of the favorites on the wing as she always found humor and love in her communication and relationships. She died peacefully on Thursday, May 28, 2020. She is survived by a grateful crew as we are the lucky ones to have had her in our life. Her children Pennelton (and Rick) Spano of Lawrence, KS, Pat (and Carol) Ford of Dent, Angela Surprenant (and Bob Schoenbaum) of Edina, Colin Ford of Minneapolis, Vincent Ford of Minneapolis; grandchildren Jake (and Cate), Katie, James (and Sara), Anna, Molly, Nathan, Courtney, Shawn and Omarr, and 15 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband and in-laws.

Memorials preferred to Jones-Harrison Care Center, 3700 Cedar Lake Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55416
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, June 26th, 2020 | 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Friday, June 26th, 2020 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Horvath Remembrance Center - Tracy
    444 Craig Ave.
    TRACY, MN 56175
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday, June 27th, 2020 | 11:00am
    Saturday, June 27th, 2020 11:00am
    St. Mary's Catholic Church - Tracy
    249 6th St.
    TRACY, MN 56175
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Rev. Fr. Mark Steffl
  • Interment

    Calvary Catholic Cemetery


We encourage you to share your most beloved memories of Wilma "Dar" here, so that the family and other loved ones can always see it. You can upload cherished photographs, or share your favorite stories, and can even comment on those shared by others.

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Private Condolence
Plant a Tree in Memory of Wilma "Dar"
3 trees have been planted in memory of Wilma "Dar" Darlene Ford (Dempsey)

Margie Coggins

Posted at 09:49am
You are in my thoughts. I feel so lucky to have known Dar just a little bit.
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Wilma "Dar" Ford — Plant a Tree Now

Jim, Jenna, Michael and Jeanette McDonald

Posted at 09:53am
A lasting remembrance of a beautiful soul ,
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Wilma "Dar" Ford — Plant a Tree Now

Ann Cameron Haenfler

Posted at 12:35pm
Dar was such a great friend to my mother, Mary Ann Cameron. They were next door neighbors on Fourth Street in Tracy. Dar was so kind to her, always quick to invite her for a meal or to bring her a gift from her travels. Dar was an honorary pallbearer for mother's funeral, and I remember she wore the best hat to the funeral. My sympathy to the family. Dar was something special.

Randi Revard Menk

Posted at 08:23pm
My sympathy to the entire family. I have wonderful memories of hanging out at the Ford house with Peni and friends. Dar was a beautiful person inside and out. May she rest in peace. Randi Revard Menk

Shirley Jo (Joey) Meidl

Posted at 05:27pm
Dear Family, your beautiful tribute to Dar is so charming and heartwarming! My mother, Lorraine Radke, worked for Jim in his insurance office for many years. I often stopped in the office after school to see Mom. Jim welcomed my frequent visits! Dar would pop in and out of the office, always smiling and always so busy! Yes, I have fond memories of Dar and Jim. They were both so well-known and respected in Tracy.
May all the years of wonderful memories you shared with Dar stay tucked in your heart and give you peace. Blessed be her memory.

Shirley Jo Radke Meidl


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