Barbara Ford Young - Obituary | January 12, 1935 - February 22, 2018

“A Virtuous Woman”

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies…. She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong…. She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy… Strength and dignity are her clothing… She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue…Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all….” Proverbs 31: 10-31

“… she girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong…”

Barbara Ford-Young was the youngest daughter of Mrs. Norine Russell Ford and Mr. Emmett Ford. She spent her early childhood in San Antonio and Hondo, Texas.

Barbara’s pursuit of education began in Hondo and continued in San Antonio where she graduated from Phyllis Wheatley High School.

After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Texas Southern University, Barbara continued her education receiving a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Our Lady of the Lake University, Worden School of Social Work. In her life long quest for learning, Barbara pursued postgraduate studies at the University of Texas at Arlington. 

“… but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

At an early age, Barbara professed her faith in Christ and dedicated her life to serving HIM. Barbara was a faithful and steadfast member of St. Paul United Methodist Church, San Antonio, Texas, led by Rev. James Amerson, until the Lord called her home.

Barbara worked willingly and tirelessly at St. Paul UMC and represented the Church on the local, regional, and jurisdictional level in many capacities serving as: Trustee, Lay Leader, Communion Stewart, Youth Fellowship Leader, Delegate to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences, Lay Member for the Annual Conference, President- Black Methodist for Church Renewal, Chair for Woman’s Day, Woman of the Year, and Member of the Conference Historical Committee and the St. Paul Historical Committee.

Additionally, Barbara rejoiced in the opportunities the Lord provided her to serve by working in the St. Paul Food Pantry, and with the United Methodist Woman. She was also instrumental in orchestrating the designation of St. Paul UMC being recognized for its community contributions with the placement of a historical marker at its site.

“…she opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy…”

Civic obedience was not an afterthought for Barbara. Barbara left her foot print in this community by her participation in various organizations. She felt that if she could help somebody then her living would not be in vain.

Barbara was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame, was a founder and charter member of the Coalition of 100 Black Women, a member of Alpha Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., where she served as a delegate, held many offices and served on various committees. Additionally, Barbara served on the local communities to eliminate disproportionally and disparities committee.

“… she opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue…”

Professionally, Barbara began her career at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company where she was the first African American to be employed as a Telephone Operator.

Building on the skills she developed at Southwestern Bell, Barbara began a stellar career with the Texas Department of Human Resources (TDHR). Starting as a Foster Care Worker, then a Foster Care Supervisor under the Division of Child Protective Services, and advancing as a Regional Staff Trainer, Barbara was promoted to head the Staff Development and Human Service Division as a Regional Director. In this role, Barbara was responsible for hiring and training staff in 27 counties throughout the state of Texas. Her expertise was highlighted when she was recruited to develop curriculum for Child Protective Services that was implemented across the state of Texas.   The knowledge and skills that Barbara brought to the agency’s development of staff later propelled her into the role of Regional Director for Employment and Child Care Services. In this capacity, Barbara was responsible for setting the local foundation for the implementation of the first major legislative changes in the public welfare system in decades, and for setting the vision, direction and service design. The foundation that Barbara set impacted the lives of thousands of families receiving services from TDHR in the Region.

During her tenure at TDHR, Barbara was also able to share her knowledge by joining the faculty and teaching courses at St. Phillips College.

Barbara valued excellence and possessed an innate ability to lead. She was a fierce advocate for staff and the clients that were served and required nothing but the best from those who worked under her leadership. By insisting on the best, she lead those around her to be the best.

Barbara retired from TDHR after 30 plus years of exemplary service in 1996. Upon her retirement Barbara received proclamations, awards and recognitions from; the U.S. President, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. House of Representatives, Secretary of the Department of Human Services, Texas House of Representatives, the Yellow Rose of Texas award, City of San Antonio, Texas Workforce Commission and the Texas Department of Human Services.

“… she looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness…”

Barbara and Earl W. Young were united in matrimony on October 24, 1974. Their union was strong and blessed by God. Together, Barbara and Earl weathered the storms and cherished the sunrises of life together for 26 years until Earl’s death in 2000.

Faith was Barbara’s first priority and her family was her second. Barbara and Earl opened their home to her brother, Emmett Ford, Jr. and his twin daughters, Holly and Cicely, whom she loved with all her heart. Barbara’s commitment for her family was deep and her care for them was endless. One of Barbara’s greatest prayers was to not die before her “Bubba” so that she could always watch over him. God granted her prayer.

Barbara demonstrated her love for her family and gave her heart and her resources unconditionally. Just as Barbara was a role model and mentor for women in her professional life she provided the same for her nieces.

"THOSE WHOM SHE LOVED and those whose lives she touched as an  advocate,  activist, business owner, innovator, mentor, and visionary will have fond memories of Barbara." She always reached back to bring others up whether it was a child, student, or someone in need. Some people pass away and are quickly forgotten but Barbara’s legacy will be with nieces Holly and Cicely, three special god daughters- Jala Adrena Minnfee, Kathryn Young Williams, and Marjoree White, and other relatives forever.  


“… many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

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14 Mar 2018