Henrietta Copes Ford
Henrietta Copes Ford
  • April 1, 1925 - December 19, 2017
  • Lynchburg, Virginia

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Henrietta "Hetta" Ford, 92, devoted mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, and aunt, passed away peacefully into her Lord's loving arms on Tuesday, December 19, 2017, comforted by Hospice care at Avante in Lynchburg. Born in Watertown, Conn. on April Fool's Day in 1925, she was the 8th of 12 children born to the late Elda Simoncini Copes (Rome, Italy) and Joseph Copes (Verceia, Italy).

She is survived by her only son, Joseph Charles Ford and his wife Judy of Vestavia Hills, Ala.; her only daughter, Janice Copes Ford of Lynchburg; three sisters, Ginger Tenzer (Morty) of New Haven, Conn., Louise Welsh (Ward) of Palmyra, N.J., and Irma Rusk of N.Y. C., NY; Hetta is also survived by three grandchildren, Dr. Kimberly Booth (Joe) of Orlando, Fla., Dr. Jamie Davidson of Vestavia Hills, Ala., and Kevin Ford of Orlando, Fla. She is also survived by six great grandchildren, Madeline and Caleb Davidson, Hannah, Chase, and Cole Booth, and Abigail Riley. She leaves behind a large extended Copes family of loyal nieces, nephews, cousins, former IRS colleagues, helpful neighbors, and supportive friends.

Hetta was preceded in death by her two brothers, Rex and Robert Copes; six sisters, Anne Sobol, Syl Felth, Reat Rovero, Lena Lockwood, Nora Hirsch, Ruth Rogin, and her Italian parents, "Ma" and "Pa".
Henrietta early education began in the one-room school house taught by Miss Gilmartin in Watertown, Conn. She then entered the Baldwin School and moved on to graduate from Watertown H.S. She saved enough money to move south to Virginia to attend Mary Washington College for two years. Hetta later married and moved to Lynchburg to work for I.R.S. as a secretary/receptionist. Later divorced, she trained as an auditor and for the I.R.S. until her retirement. She took great pride in preparing her own tax returns as recent as 2016 at the age of 92. After retirement she enjoyed traveling to VA Beach, Norfolk, down south to Birmingham and Orlando to visit her children and grandchildren. She also looked forward to heading north to N.Y. and Conn. to visit her Copes family relatives and reminisce over fond, childhood memories of long ago.

Mom was a lifelong member of Holy Cross Church. She attended Sunday Mass faithfully, often prayed the rosary for those troubled and respectfully bowed her head at the mention of Jesus' name. Her Catholic faith sustained her as she accepted the challenges to raise both children in the 1960's, as a single parent working fulltime. Hetta provided for Jan and Joe to attend Holy Cross School for grades 1-12 and college educated Joe at Belmont Abbey and Janice at Sacred Heart with the help of National Defense Loans.

Fiercely independent, Hetta continued to drive her 34 year old "junker" car until she was 91. She so enjoyed short trips to the Cavalier, Kroger, Food Lion, Starbucks, Subway, lovely historic homes all over town, and relaxing drives out to the country to admire our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and nature. Her favorite TV shows ranged from Perry Como and Lawrence Welk in the 1950's to Dancing with the Stars in 2017. Hetta loved her warm tea and coffee, with chocolate while talking on the phone with family and friends both near and far away, receiving mail but not bills and sitting in the warm sun, both on the backporch or out front observing her tiny feathered friends at the birdfeeder and birdbath. Simple, small pleasures near the end of her life brought peace of mind, relaxation, and joy. She loved to read old and new books, the daily news-paper, "Yankee", "The New Yorker", and "Catholic Virginian". She boasted that she did not need her reading glasses at age 92 after two cataract surgeries! Her 60 year old boxwood bushes, 40 ft. evergreen (which she planted herself), and many bulbs and flowers brought her pleasure beyond means.

Henrietta was laid to rest in a private graveside burial at Holy Cross Cemetery on Friday, December 22, 2017. A memorial service and funeral Mass will be held at 11 am on Thursday, December 28, 2017 at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 710 Clay Street, Lynchburg, Virginia. A small reception in the church commons will follow for those who wish to pay their respects to the family. In lieu of flowers, donations in Hetta's honor may be made to Centra Hospice, 2097 Langhorne Rd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24501, Holy Cross Catholic Church, 710 Clay Street, Lynchburg, Virginia 24504, or Holy Cross Regional Catholic School, 2125 Langhorne Rd, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24501.

The family wishes to thank Westminster Canterbury (6th floor rehab), Avante skilled Care, Lynchburg General Hospital ER and stroke unit, Senior Independence Home Health Care, Centra Hospice and Dr. Archibald Lord (PCP) for the loving care mom received these last few months. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.whittenfuneralhome.com or the family home since 1955 at 1106 Rugby Rd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24503. A simple memorial remembrance for Hetta will be held in the spring in Norfolk for Janice's friends and colleagues who could not attend the service over the Christmas Holiday. Details will follow later.