KINGSPORT - Jerry Ford, 88, of Kingsport, passed away Friday, September 18, 2020, in the Bristol Regional Medical Center after a brief illness.

Although born in Appalachia, Virginia, Jerry spent the majority of his life as a resident of the greater Kingsport area. He was the son of the late Gladys Lane Starnes and Hugh Ford.

Jerry graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School and received Bachelor’s and Master degrees from East Tennessee State University. He excelled in football at both the high school and collegiate level. Jerry served in the US Army prior to dedicating his entire career to the educational field. Known as ‘Coach Ford’ to many due to his many coaching positions, his coaching career culminated with his appointment as Sullivan Central’s first Head Football Coach. Although he loved teaching/coaching, his niche as Elementary Administrator is how he completed his dedicated, compassionate and impactful career.

Jerry was an avid golfer and tremendous athlete. He loved music and classic movies/television. His love of Daytona Beach created many wonderful family vacation memories and created a very happy place to enjoy retirement with his true love, wife and soulmate, Phyllis Hughes Ford. They were on their 63rd year of marriage; a marriage that exemplified respect, honor, and friendship. He lived his life with a strong demonstrated faith in God and was a member of Cassidy United Methodist Church.

Jerry was preceded in death by his parents.

Survivors include his wife, Phyllis Hughes Ford; two daughters, Lisa Davis and Jeri Ann Ford; one son, Jonathan Ford; his sister-in-law and her husband, Cindy and Larry Eisenhart; his lifelong friend, Wallace Ketron. His grandchildren include: Brandon Barnes, Todd Davis, Brody Ford, Marcus Alber, and Natavia Alber. His great-grandchildren include: Bryson Barnes and Brylee Barnes.

With the potential risk of Covid and with respect to peoples’ health and safety, in lieu of a service, the family of Jerry Ford would like to honor him by compiling memories and stories throughout his life. They would love for Jerry’s friends, neighbors, students, co-workers, etc to submit their thoughts, specific memories, stories, pictures, etc that illustrate what he meant to them or things they would like to share. Submissions can be made on any the following social media venues: Facebook: Email: or Carter-Trent Funeral Home Tribute Wall: (Select ‘Jerry Ford’ obituary, then ‘Tribute Wall’).

Memorial Contributions can be made to Cassidy United Methodist Church (5811 Memorial Blvd, Kingsport, TN 37664) or any charity of personal importance.

Online condolences may be made to the family by visiting

Carter Trent Funeral Home, Kingsport is serving the Ford family.