Obituary – Mary Judith Knowles Ford

Published 11:24 am Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Mary Judith Knowles Ford was born June 21, 1941, in Chicago, Ill., to James H. Knowles and Ellen Waller. After her family’s move, she was raised in Mobile, Ala., where she graduated in 1959 as class valedictorian from the Julius T. Wright School for Girls. 

An avid equestrian, Judy also sailed around the world after graduation. She married Dennis Murphree Ford on June 7, 1968, in Jackson, Miss. Their daughters, Jennifer and Mary Burton, were born in 1971 and 1974, respectively.  

She was an internationally-recognized textile artist and president of Judy Ford Fabric Art in Jackson, Miss., from 1980-2005. She developed unique fabric painting techniques and produced custom, hand-painted textiles in the interior design industry for home furnishings. She also created site-specific artwork for hospitals, hotels, and other spaces. A dedicated outdoorswoman, Judy spent many happy years in her much-loved valley in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

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In May 2010, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Mississippi, receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts. A member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Judy continued her education at the University of Mississippi, graduating with a Master of Fine Arts degree in May 2013 at the age of 72. 

She leaves behind a loving family, including her husband of over fifty years, Dennis M. Ford; her two daughters, Jennifer and Mary Burton; her son-in-law; Kevin McGee, as well as her beloved grandchildren, Ford Smith, Eliza Weir McGee, Kaylee McGee, and Brice McGee.

The memorial service will be Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, at 3 p.m. at Oxford-University United Methodist Church with Rev. Warren Black and Rev. Eddie Rester officiating.  A private service will follow at the City of Oxford Columbarium.  Visitation will be prior to the service beginning at 1 p.m. in the atrium at the church. Waller Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Donations in her memory should be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011

For additional information or to leave an online condolence, please call 662.234.7971 or visit