Poe’s Memory Chapel Funeral Home sadly announces the transition of Mrs. Sue Ford Patrick, 73, retired senior Foreign Service Officer, died on July 6, 2020 in Pompano Beach, FL, after a brief struggle with pancreatic cancer.
Memorial service to honor Mrs. Patrick’s life and legacy will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, August 29, 2020 from the Town Creek Baptist Church Cemetery located at 130 County Road 164 in Union Springs, Alabama. Rev. Leon Jackson, pastor, will deliver words of celebration and comfort. Historic Town Creek Baptist Church was organized in 1824 by many of Mrs. Sue Ford Patrick’s relatives. Her noble request was that her family bring her remains to be buried with her ancestors.
Services will be conducted exercising prescribed social distancing protocols. Facial coverings for all attendees are mandated per executive order of the Governor of Alabama.
Sue Ford Patrick was the eldest of three children born to Oscar and Mildred Ford in Montgomery, Alabama on November 9, 1946. Education was deeply valued by her parents.
In Montgomery, she attended Chisholm Elementary, St. John the Baptist Elementary and St. Jude College Preparatory School before transferring to Madonna Academy, a private, Marianist high school in Hollywood, FL. In 1963, she graduated from Madonna Academy as valedictorian.
Following high school, Sue attended the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, America’s oldest Catholic women’s college, graduating with a BA in History in 1967. She then pursued graduate studies in US Diplomatic History at the University of Virginia. Five years later, she joined the US Foreign Service as a junior diplomat.
During 32 years of diplomatic service, she rose to the senior ranks, becoming a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. Her assignments included Thailand, Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire, Rwanda, Haiti and South Africa, as well the State Department and Pentagon in Washington, DC. Her languages are Thai, Swahili and French and Afrikaans.
In addition to her earlier graduate studies at the University of Virginia, Sue later received an MA in African Studies from Boston University and an MA in National Security Studies from the National War College in Washington, DC.
As her diplomatic career progressed, she took on increasingly challenging assignments. In Kigali, Rwanda, she served as Deputy Chief of Mission, where she sought to make peace between the warring factions in the years preceding the Rwandan genocide.
In Johannesburg, South Africa, she was the first woman to serve as the US Consul General. At the Pentagon, following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, her efforts played a key role in shepherding former Warsaw Pact countries into the orbit of NATO and Western democracy.
Then, as diplomat-in-Residence at Morehouse and Spelman colleges in Atlanta, she led the State Department’s efforts to recruit talented college graduates to join the US Foreign Service while teaching a course in US diplomacy. After she retired, Sue undertook an assignment as Advisor to help negotiate a peace agreement between the government of Senegal and warring factions in the Casamance region of Senegal.
Sue’s excellence recognized by the State Department with several Superior Honor Awards. She was a member of the Phi Beta Delta honor society of International Scholars, a member of the International Honor Society in history, and recognized as a Distinguished Alumna of her alma mater, College of Notre Dame of Maryland.
Just last year, she was recognized by Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School with the Founder’s Award, given to those who embody the school’s motto “Toward a Better World.”
In retirement, Sue turned her focus to her local community of Pompano Beach. She founded the Palm Aire Student Enrichment Group, a collection of forty volunteers who tutor children weekly to help them reach grade-level proficiency.
She was also a member of the city commission’s Educational Advisory Committee, where she provided counsel on public education matters and monitored the actions of the Broward County School Board on behalf of city residents.
Sue Ford Patrick leaves to cherish her memory, a loving husband: Henderson Patrick; two children: Lauren Patrick and Ibrahima Patrick; her mother: Mildred Ford Carter; aunts: Dorothy Sue Peterson (George), Ruby Kitchen; uncles: Ned Hunter, Forest Hunter, Moses Hunter, Jr; cousins: Christine Sampson, Barry Johnson; Johnny Frank Kitchen, Renard Kitchen, Travia Cooper and many other cousins and friends from across the globe.
The caring staff of Poe’s Memory Chapel Funeral Home is honored and humbled to support the family of the late Mrs. Sue Ford Patrick.
May God’s grace and mercy continue to strengthen the family and friends of Mrs. Patrick.