Rep. Clay Ford, 'Tireless Public Servant,' Succumbs to Cancer
Around the State
State Rep. Clay Ford, who in November won his fourth term to the Florida House, has died, House Speaker Will Weatherford said today.
Ford, a Republican who represented Pensacola and Gulf Breeze, lost his battle with cancer Monday night. He was 74.
“The consummate gentleman of the House, Clay Ford was a friend, a mentor, and a tender conscience to all those who served with him," Weatherford said in a written statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Carol, his three sons David, Doug, and Clay, and his nine grandchildren.”
Gov. Rick Scott said, “Ann and I were sad to hear the news of the passing of Representative Clay Ford. Our sincere condolences go to his family and to all of those in the Legislature that served with him. Clay cared deeply for his constituents and it showed during his work in Tallahassee.”
House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, wrote of Ford's death, “I am saddened to hear of the passing of Representative Clay Ford. My thoughts and prayers are with (his) family at this time. His public service on behalf of Floridians is commendable and he will be remembered for his work on behalf of our great state. He will be missed.”
Ford, R-Pensacola, missed the opening day of the Legislature and subsequent meetings of the House Energy and Utilities Subcommittee, which he chaired.
His office reported the first week of session, through the House majority office, that Ford had health problems but hoped to return to the Legislature in a week or two.
In January he said he was recovering after pneumonia in 2012, requested excusal from the Feb. 19 subcommittee meeting and also missed a Feb. 12 subcommittee meeting.
He particularly wanted to deal with the proposed committee bill dealing with nuclear cost recovery, the 2006 law that allows utilities to charge customers for nuclear plants regardless of whether they will be built.
During the opening day of the Legislature, House Speaker Will Weatherford and members of the energy subcommittee referred requests for information about Ford's absence to his legislative office.
"We all love Clay Ford and wish he was here with us right now," Weatherford said at the time.
On Tuesday, Rep. Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze, told the Pennsacola News Journal in a statement that even as Ford battled the disease that ultimately claimed his life, he “fought like an absolute warrior.”
Broxson called Ford “a trusted colleague, mentor and friend.”
Broxson's statement Tuesday afternoon read, “My thoughts and prayers are with his devoted wife, Carol, and their family. Northwest Florida has lost a tireless public servant and well-respected leader.”
Besides the Energy and Utilities Subcommittee, Ford was also a member of the judiciary, regulatory affairs, and rules and calendar committees.
From 1990 to 2006, he served on the Gulf Breeze City Council.
Clay Ford leaves behind a wife, three sons and nine grandchildren.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.