THE ADVOCATE 575
VOL. 76 PART 4 JULY 2018
Clinton William Ford
Clinton William Ford, son of Peggy and Bob Ford, was
born on July 19, 1957 in Edmonton on his parents’
14th wedding anniversary. He was honoured at birth
as the namesake of the sitting Chief Justice of
Alberta and the Northwest Territories, his grandfather
Clinton J. Ford, whose name survives on
schools and law school moot competitions. Clinton
W. Ford arrived a golden child, destined to live out that blessing. He was
“that early-laurelled head” (Housman, “To an Athlete Dying Young”) and
though his life took a different turn in his mid-40s, it was his later years
through to his passing in December 2017 that left him most admired by
those who knew him well.
Clint’s great fortune was to be born into a family of character and intellect,
for whom debating (a.k.a. arguing) was considered dinner-table conversation.
As the only son and youngest, he was doted upon. By the time he
was a toddler his two sisters, Catherine and Susan, were both teenagers and
regarded their brother as a nuisance, albeit a much-loved one.
The family moved to Red Deer when Clint was five. Clint placed routinely
at the top of his school classes. The breadth of his gifts became more
apparent as he grew. He was handsome, even without the careful mid-part
and feathered blond hair so fashionable in the ’70s. Clint’s easy track
through school gave him much idle time, as his teachers sometimes complained
at parent meetings.
From Bob, his admiring son inherited charisma and sharp wit. Those
served Bob, a court reporter, well among bands of judges and lawyers travelling
through rural Alberta. Bob’s influence is said to have given Clint a sartorial
standard later in life, eventually proving ZZ Top’s adage that “every
girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man”.
Peggy, a staunch Irish Roman Catholic who married into the blueblooded
Protestant Alberta aristocracy, did her stubborn best to instill Clint
with a spiritual faith. Years as an altar boy, and enforced daily Mass with
Peggy during Lent, did not ultimately prevent Clint’s disillusionment with
the institution. He later took particular offence to the worst church scandals
and to the hypocrisy he recognized in its preaching and practice. In his final
years, the pendulum probably swung back a little from professed agnosticism
to the view that there might be more than an abyss awaiting, even if
all his annual good-natured but cynical reminders to celebrate the Feast of