Judge Leon Ford III Lecture


The Honorable Judge Leon Ford, III


Judge Leon Ford, IIIJudge Leon Ford, III’s longtime association with Southeastern Louisiana University
began when he received his undergraduate degree from Southeastern in 1951. His love
of the University was evident to all who knew him.

In 2001, Judge Ford established one of two endowed chairs at the University: The Leon
Ford Family Chair in Regional Studies as well as an endowed professorship in his wife
Ginger’s memory.

Following his graduation from Southeastern, Judge Ford earned his Juris Doctor degree
from Louisiana State University Law School. He entered the U.S. Air Force in 1952
and served as Staff Judge Advocate of the 8th Fighter Bomber Wing.

He was first elected City Court Judge of Hammond in 1966 and was elected without opposition
in 1972, serving there until his election to the 21 st Judicial District Court bench in 1974.

Judge Ford’s passion was the history of Hammond and the Florida Parishes. His love
of the railroad, airplanes, and Tangipahoa Parish were well known throughout the community.
During his lifetime, Judge Ford worked to assemble an extensive photographic library
of southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi. His collection of photographs, maps,
and writings are now owned by the Ford Family Charitable Foundation and housed at
Southeastern Louisiana University’s Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies.

In 1996, Judge Ford authored a book, Hammond Army Air Field and Early Aviation in
the Hammond Area, which chronicled the history of the Hammond Army Airfield training
facility during World War II. The book featured many of Judge Ford’s historic photos
of the era. He donated all proceeds from the sales of the books to the Hammond Chamber
of Commerce.

Judge Ford was awarded Southeastern Louisiana University’s prestigious Golden Ambassador
Award in 2002 for his achievements in humanitarianism. He was a member of the Southeastern
Louisiana University Foundation, named “Man of the Year” by the Hammond Kiwanis Club,
and presented with a Lifetime Achievement award by the Florida Parishes Inns of Court.
He worked with his wife to establish the Ginger Ford Habitat for Humanity in Tangipahoa

Judge Ford was also known for his local philanthropic interest and generosity. He
established the Ford Family Charitable Foundation in 2001, thus ensuring that his
interest in helping others would continue beyond his death. Today, the Ford Family
Charitable Foundation is the sponsor of the Judge Leon Ford, III Lecture in History.
This yearly lecture series is envisioned as an opportunity to honor Judge Ford’s memory
and his love of local history.


Past Judge Leon Ford III Lectures