Sylvester Ford, Jr., 74, of Belleville, Ill., died Thursday, April 30, in Illinois.
A long-time employee of The Skanner newspaper, Ford lived in the Pacific Northwest for many years, but recently moved back to live with his family in the East St. Louis, Mo., area.
A champion athlete in his youth, Ford held the basketball scoring record at Lincoln High School in East St. Louis for many years.
Visitation is scheduled in Illinois for Friday, May 8, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Mitchell Tabernacle CME Church, 4107 Trendley Ave., Centreville, with funeral services at noon.
Interment service will follow in the National Cemetery, Jefferson Barracks, Ill.
Ford sold advertising for The Skanner in both Portland and Seattle. He also helped pull together the details of numerous special events, such as the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast, which draws about 1,000 people every year, as well as a noteworthy jazz music celebration.
In past years he also contributed to a regular column in The Skanner's pages, called Soul Street.
Ford also cherished his many friends at the Alberta Simmons Plaza apartments, where he lived for many years in Portland.
"Ford was our everyday man on the street," said The Skanner Publisher Bernie Foster. "He was that everyday kind of person that sometimes we forget to think about.
"He had a strong personality, he was always that way, ever since I first knew him, back in the 1950s," Foster said.
"He was a tremendous benefit to The Skanner, especially every year during our Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast," Foster said. "He never took any assignment I gave him without enthusiasm, no matter how big or small.
"The Skanner has missed a vital part of our family — he was definitely a vital part of our family and will always be known for that," Foster said.
Ford will be truly missed, not only throughout the Northwest, but also in the East St. Louis area, where he had many friends and family.
Ford is survived by four daughters, Barbara J. McCary of Belleville, Dinah D. Ford of St. Louis, Patricia A. (Peter) Hendricks of Edgemont, Ill., and Tracy J. (Rodney) Fisher of East St. Louis; one son, Shanf O. (Jermel) Ford of Norfolk, Va.; three sisters, Faye Smith of Belleville, Clara (Ronald) Taylor and Sally (Lawrence) Booker both of Cahokia, Ill.; six grandchildren; a special long loving friend, Oliver Crumble of East St. Louis, and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, other relative and friends.
Transitory services coordinated by Serenity Memorial Chapel.