We are sharing the obituary for Dare Freeman Ford as a courtesy to the Freeman and Ford families. We extend our deepest sympathy to them at this time. Please refer to the website for Groce Funeral Home for any flower orders or condolences.
Hazel LuErma “Dare” Freeman Ford, 69, of Hendersonville was called to stand from her wheelchair and put on her boogie shoes as she danced her way to heaven on July 24, 2023.
Dare was born February 9, 1954, in Anson County, NC to the Late Hazel and Eugene Freeman. She often stated she had the best childhood keeping up with her three brothers on their chicken farm and being loved by her close-knit Olivet Methodist Church family. The Freeman family was completed when at 10 years old Dare finally got her adored baby sister.
In the tradition of keeping up with her brothers, Dare received her bus driver’s license at 16 years old and drove other children to school on her way to high school. She later chronicled these adventures in a book she wrote entitled, Don’t Make me Turn this Bus Around.
Since the age of 6, Dare knew she wanted to become a teacher. The summer between her junior and senior year of high school, Dare attended a summer camp at Western Carolina University. By the end of the summer, Dare was sold on attending college there. She loved every moment of being a Catamount in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Dare reached her goal to become an educator after graduating from Western Carolina University in 1975.
In August of 1975 she met the love of her life, Edmond “Keith” Ford. They were married in October of 1976, thus beginning their many adventures together. They had three children Elizabeth, Andrew, and a stillborn daughter, Anna.
Though Dare took good care of her health, she started suffering many health complications beginning in her early 40’s. However, she never let it affect her can-do positive attitude. She stayed staunchly dedicated to helping others, loving her family, and finding what good each day had to offer.
After 22 years of teaching in elementary and middle schools in both North and South Carolina, Dare needed to take early retirement due to her Multiple Sclerosis progressing at a rapid rate. She used this time to tutor children, ride all over downtown Hendersonville in her motorized scooter, and began a wonderful journey with a beloved writing group that lasted for many years. She also researched her family tree extensively and published a book about the Freeman family. In recent years, Dare began what she called her card ministry, where she made sure all the people she loved and knew would get words of encouragement and cheer for all the major events in their lives.
Always one to focus on others, she did not bemoan her own physical limitations. All her adventures after retirement were done through her sheer determination, zest for life, and the tireless dedication of her husband to be her arms and legs as she could no longer move either. Recently Keith and Dare jointly authored and published a book together called Under The Buckeye Tree. This book is the story of their relationship and walk of faith coping with a chronic illness.
One of Dare’s greatest joys in life was living long enough to know her grandchildren. Her heart was partially healed from losing her daughter Anna when she held her first grandson, Gavin in 2008. With the addition of each grandchild, Dare felt blessed beyond measure. Her Amazon cart was often filled with gifts and Doordash orders put in for her grandchildren.
In the final years of her life, not only did she contend with MS but she also developed ET, a blood disorder, and finally an aggressive rare cancer, leiomyosarcoma, earlier this year. Though her life had challenges, her faith in a loving God was strong. She spent her days not dwelling on what could have been but focused rather on what could be done with joy in the present moment.
Those left behind to cherish her memory are her husband Keith, daughter Elizabeth (Michael Ferguson), son Andrew (Porshe), grandchildren Gavin Ford, Mateo Archer, Salem Ferguson, Wrenn Ferguson, Nola Ferguson, Roman Ford, and grandson-of-the-heart Jayden Garber. Her brother Mike Freeman (Sally) of Lilesville, Her sister Rebecca Freeman of Lumberton, her sister-in-laws Cora Freeman, Nancy Freeman, Kathy Gerdes (Don), brothers-in-law Bill and Bob Ford, and many additional beloved nieces and a nephew, plus extended family and friends. Special thanks to her current earth angels Doris Johnson, Wendy Etheridge, and Marion Gowan. They along with other kind people helped make her dreams possible through their hands. Her cat Olivet will also greatly miss resting happily on her lap.
Please join us in a celebration of her life at Bethel Wesleyan Church on Sunday August 6, 2023 at 2pm.
Good work, Dare. Your beautiful spirit will live on through all the love, light, and spunk you brought while here.
It was Dare’s wish that a donation be made in her memory to either Bethel Wesleyan Church at PO Box 268, Dana, NC 28724, or Olivet United Methodist 3788 Stanback Ferry Rd, Lilesville NC, 28091