Plymouth man's obituary stresses on Vikings' struggles; family says he was a 'huge' fan

Updated: December 05, 2019 10:21 PM

A Plymouth man noted by family to be a "huge" Minnesota Vikings fan made it clear in his obituary.

John J. Ford died at the age of 86 on Tuesday. His obituary mentions he served as a 1st Lt. in the United States Army and completed 26 "exits in fright" as a paratrooper with the 1st Airborne Battle Group, 187th Infantry. He also started his own marketing incentives company, JFR Marketing. He also served at the Wayzata Country Club as the chairman and president.


"He loved golf, a good cigar, [Wayzata Country Club], the MN Vikings and Notre Dame," the obituary says.

But the beginning of the passage is what catches Vikings fans' eyes.

"Age 86 of Plymouth, passed away surrounded by family on December 2nd after the Vikings allowed 17 unanswered points," the obituary reads.

The Vikings held a halftime lead over the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football before losing to a final score of 37-30.

“It was just classic,” said Julie Ford, his daughter.

They family had gathered at the nursing home to watch the game with him, describing what was happening.

“So he would still be part of it even if he couldn’t see it with his own eyes, ” she said. "We’re convinced he was listening."

Julie told us the obituary is a way to lighten their loss and honor her father, who had a great sense of humor.

“It was not only funny, it was him, it was my dad,” she said. “Everybody that knew my dad knew he was a Vikings fan.”

Katie Henning is one of John's seven grandkids. She said her grandfather would've written something similar that the family put together in remembrance.

"He was a HUGE Vikings fan," Katie told KSTP. "We [as a family] never really discussed it with him but if he could've written it he would've said the same thing."

She added, "the only thing [John] hates more than the Vikings losing is the Cowboys winning."

Her grandfather had season tickets on the 50-yard line for years, later watching the games on TV.

“I think his love for the Vikings just shows who he was as a person,” said Katie. “How hard he loved them and supported them and was loyal to them, that’s how he was with [his grandchildren], with his [children].”

His family told us John brought the same sincerity, generosity and passion to every aspect of his life. They said he had a silent impact on so many people.

Even now that he’s passed, they believe his heart is still with the Vikings.

“He didn’t quit,” said John Fitzgerald, his son-in-law. “He left and he went up to that big locker room in the sky. He’s recruiting some more cheerleaders and they’ll be back.”

And bring the Vikings a win.

“He was a great guy, he really was, we’re going to miss him,” said Julie.

John is survived by his wife, Jane; daughters Ellen, Mary and Julie and seven grandchildren.

Katie said on Thursday night her cousins will be flying in to get together with family in remembrance. Funeral arrangements are scheduled for Friday morning.

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Tommy Wiita & Callan Gray

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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