LAFARGEVILLE, NY — Broadcaster, businessman and political aficionado Ezra S. “Ted” Ford died Monday, May 23, 2022, at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Syracuse, following a brief illness.
Ted, 81, of LaFargeville, is survived by his wife, Marie LaTempa Ford, and four daughters: Amy (Brian) Kelly, Watertown; Sarah (Thomas) Barker, Brownville; Mary Ford-(Christopher) Waterman, LaFargeville; and Emily Ford, LaFargeville.
Born Dec. 25, 1940, in Carthage, Ted was the son of Dr. Lewis R. and Grace E. Draper Ford. The family moved to LaFargeville when Ted was in third grade. He graduated from LaFargeville Central School in 1959.
Ted then attended Ithaca College, from which he graduated in 1963 with a degree in television and radio broadcasting. Later that year, he was hired by veteran WWNY-TV Channel 7 weatherman Danny Burgess as an announcer and part-time weatherman.
He was named director of the television station in 1966 and was promoted to executive news director in 1976. During this period, he also produced and directed the station’s public affairs program, Sounding Board, which included his once interviewing then-presidential candidate Jimmy Carter.
Ted left WWNY in October 1979 to open an AAMCO transmission service center on Coffeen Street with his late brother-in-law, Victor LaTempa. In 1987, Ted returned to broadcasting, being named operations manager for WFYF Channel 50, later known as WWTI-TV 50.
He later served as general sales manager for WTOJ-FM and WATN-AM radio stations in Watertown before acquiring WWLF (106.7) in 1994. The station, also known as Z-Rock, broadcast album-oriented hard rock. Ted sold the station to Clancy-Mance Communication in 1997, remaining with the company working on sales promotions and special projects.
Throughout his career, Ted was also very active in politics on several levels, including serving many years as chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party. Most recently, he served as a constituent liaison in the office of Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell.
Also in retirement, Ted joined with a group of partners in 2001 to purchase the Watertown Wizards of the New York Collegiate Baseball League, ensuring that the fledgling team would remain in the north country. Ted led the team’s marketing efforts.
Ted served on the LaFargeville Central School Board of Education for 18 years, resigning in 1996 only to take a position on the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services. He also served on the boards of the North Country Library System and the Orleans Public Library and was a board member and volunteer mediator for the Jeff-Lewis Mediation Center, later named the Resolution Center of Jefferson and Lewis County. As a younger man, he was a member of the LaFargeville Volunteer Fire Department and served as an EMT for the volunteer ambulance squad.
Ted enjoyed traveling with Marie, spending time with his nine grandchildren, vegetable gardening, and later in life he began a hobby of painting beautiful portraits of family and friends which he gave away as gifts.
There will be no calling hours. A memorial service, followed by a burial service, will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Grove Cemetery on Route 180 in LaFargeville.
Arrangements are being handled by D.L Calarco Funeral Home, 135 Keyes Ave., Watertown.
Donations in Ted’s memory can be made to the Orleans Public Library or a charity of one’s choice.
Online condolences may be made at DLCalarco.com