About 700 people or so gathered at St. Aloysius Church in Jersey City today to bid farewell to the one-and-only Ed
''The Faa'' Ford, who died last Tuesday.
And it was a funeral that even the Faa himself would have enjoyed and appreciated, because it was filled with funny Faa stories, touching moments, some tear-jerking sentimental moments, but most importantly, nothing but love and admiration for the most unique and colorful character Jersey City has ever produced.
I was asked to be one of the speakers, along with another long-time friend, Tom Shine to say a few words about the Faa before the services began. It was an honor to be able to share some of my finest Faa moments.
I was able to tell the audience on how I first met Ed Ford, long before he was "The Faa." I was a Babe Ruth baseball player at age 14 and he noticed me, telling me that he thought I could hit pretty well. We struck up a conversation. He said he remembered by father from working for the Jersey City DPW. We became friends.
A few years later, when I first tried out for the Senior Babe Ruth and Build Better Boys teams, he always promised me a spot on his teams because he thought I could do two things. One, was hit. I couldn't catch a cold. And two, he knew I could keep score.
"I'll always keep you around as long as you can keep the book," he said.
It was a relationship that lasted 35 years. He might be gone now, but the love and admiration will continue forever. He was as loyal as a friend could be. Even through our countless arguments and altercations, I knew he loved me and he told me so in our last conversation last Monday, the day before he died.
The church was packed with so many people that loved the Faa and people he loved as well. His good friend Mike McNally played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes with other members of the Jersey City police department. Not a dry eye was spotted in the place.
My long-time friend and spiritual mentor, Fr. Anthony Azzzarto, S.J. from St. Peter's Prep, was brilliant in performing the Mass, along with help from Fr. Lawrence Miller, who was the heart-and-soul of Our Lady of Mercy athletics for ages, and Fr. Warren Hall, who currently resides at St. Al's.
It really couldn't have been a better sendoff, with the emotions of the day, with the beauty of the ceremony, with the outpouring of love and affection for my beloved friend.
Thanks to News 12 New Jersey, with reporter George Falkowski in attendance, for doing a nice feature/tribute on the Faa that aired last night. It enabled some who didn't get a chance to attend the funeral to have a feel of the warmth and love that took place.
At the wake Friday, Jack Curry of the YES Network, who once played for the Faa in 4B baseball and wrote a great column on the Faa on the YES Network website, put an idea into my head.
"With all the stories you know, you should write a book about the Faa," Curry said to me.
And that will be my goal this summer. I will compile a host of funny tidbits, entitled "Faa Stories," and will publish it on my own, complete with pictures and memories. I will then donate a portion of the proceeds of the book to the Edward "Faa" Ford Memorial Fund, which will benefit the Jersey City Sharks baseball program.
If anyone wants to share their ''Faa Stories," they can send them to me via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com.
That is the least I can do to honor the legacy of my good friend. Again, he may be gone, but he certainly won't be forgotten. And after I'm done writing, others will have "Faa Stories" to last a lifetime.
My tribute to the Faa will appear on www.hudsonreporter.com beginning Sunday AM. More of my work can be read at www.theobserver.com and www.dailyrecord.com.