281. Cousins Jeff and Leslie

The year 1952 marked the birth year of my nephew, Jeffrey Alan Ford and my son, Mark Peter Ford.  


Today is Jeff’s birthday!

Jeff is the son and eldest child of my brother-and-sister-in-law, Bob and Arlis Ford.  Mark was the son and eldest child of my husband Gene and me.  The boys were born two months apart, but they were only to meet and play together once.

In 1964, Gene and I decided to test our true grit, pack up all seven of our children – ages 3 to 11 – and travel by train to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to visit our families there.  It was a monumental experience, to put it mildly, but I’ll always be eternally grateful we did it.

It was the only time Jeff, Mark and most of the other cousins were to meet, and while they may not remember much about the visit, I’ve always been glad Mark got to get acquainted with Jeff and all his other cousins.  Mark died on December 21,1970, following a car-pedestrian accident a few blocks from our home in Seattle. He was 18 years old.

Jeff grew up the oldest of five other siblings – Patrick, David, Jenny, Eddie, and Liz. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Iowa, and won his law degree at the University of Texas in 1977.

He married Vicki Taylor on March 24,1979, and they’ve lived in Dallas Texas ever since.  Their two sons still live in Texas, too. Son Bennett was married last year to Lauren Smith, and Andrew is still “batching it”.

Jeff has really distinguished himself in his chosen field.  The Dallas community rates him as a “Super Attorney”, which relieves me no end.  Octo-woman is counting on him in case her life of crime is ever revealed.  She’s going to need a good lawyer, for sure. All those overdue library book fines are finally going to catch up with her. Maybe a reasonable dollar amount can be negotiated..

Jeff and Vicky just got back from a trip to France.  They like to travel, and do it whenever they can. I hope someday one of those trips is going to bring them to the Pacific Northwest where they have about 40 relatives who would like to see them.  Jeff’s Uncle Don has a group in Medford, Oregon, and I’ve got 26 or so in Seattle, Washington. I mean, it’s not Paree, but, hey, forget the moist weather — we’ve got great coffee . . .

Have a happy birthday, Jeff!  Live long and prosper!


Today is also the birthday of my niece, Leslie Ann (Ford) Sully.  Leslie is the youngest daughter of my brother-in-law Don Ford.  Her mom, my sister-in-law, Lorraine, died in 1999.

When Leslie was little, I thought she wanted to grow up to be a fish.  In fact, she really excelled in competitive swimming, and Lorraine was drafted to serve as the driver and ever-resourceful mother-in-waiting for competitions all over the state of Oregon.

Leslie grew up in a military family.  Her dad Don was a full colonel in the Air Force, and brother Danny had a twenty year career in the Air Force as well. Leslie was just a baby in this photo.  Danny is holding her, her dad Don is on the right.

This photo shows big sister Christy holding baby Leslie as a “big surprise”.

In college, Leslie enrolled in ROTC, and later served in the army as a lieutenant in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. She was responsible for the deployment of medical supplies to the troops. Her duty there was a time of great anxiety for all the family, but that changed to justified pride when she made it home safely. 

Leslie now works as the civilian Public Information officer for army recruiting in Columbus, South Carolina.

Henry Sully (Leslie’s husband) had a lifetime career in the U.S. Army.  While in the Reserves, he was called up to serve as medical logistics officer in Iraqi war.  He is home now and teaches at a university in South Carolina.

Leslie and Henry both love horses.  Repeat that. They. Love. Horses.  I think they usually own at least two horse right now, and they’ve become quite competent in the care, feeding, and handling of their four-footed fast-hoofing friends.

This is Leslie’s only “cousin-in-law” in my family born in the same year she was – 1967.  He’s Michael Delancey Gorman, born 7/19/67. 

Michael works for a newspaper in Phoenix, Arizona. He’s the talented and “can do” son of my brother and sister-in-law Leo and Peggy Gorman.


So, along with your cousin Jeff, I hope you have a very happy birthday. Leslie. 

Hang in there and write if you get work!

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4 Responses to 281. Cousins Jeff and Leslie

  1. Chris says:

    I, too, am glad you decided to test your true grit! I have very fond memories of your train trip to Iowa. I’ll always remember our first glimpse of the family as you all piled into our driveway in matching clothes. We blame you for our mother’s decision to then dress all of us in our uniforms of black turtlenecks fall through spring with a short reprieve of short sleeve black sweatshirts in the summer.

    One of my fondest memories of all time was Uncle Gene taking us on a tour of Quaker Oats. As the tour ended we each received a small snack box of the new Life Cereal. We took it with us as our movie theater treat, I think we saw Flipper. Mark and I felt very important that we were the oldest and in charge of the group. Your visit was after our trip to stay with you in Seattle so it was like being with old friends again. Thanks for deciding to take on the challenge! It created happy memories.

    • Lisa Marie says:

      Dear cousin Chris:
      I remember that Quaker Oats visit well. You were the beautiful big sister I never had (not that I have an ugly big sister–I mean, I’m the eldest girl in Octowoman’s brood), and I was in awe of you. You held my hand at the Quaker Oats plant, and I felt incredibly special. It made up for the fact that Dad and I had to leave the tour early, so I could go to a podiatrist and get a pesky ingrown toenail taken care of–and missed Flipper! But after the medical appointment, Dad took me out for my first banana split ever, creating another wonderful childhood memory. Lisa Marie

      • Chris says:

        Aw, shucks! Lisa, you are always special, you don’t need any imagined big sister to feel it! Love to you. (…sorry you missed Flipper!)

  2. Rene' Melchior says:

    I was obviously too young to enjoy the visit, but the whole idea of that kind of trip does NOT elude me. I can’t imagine that kind of trip and I have seven!

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