Brella Mae Ford, age 78, of Somerset, passed away on Saturday, January 28, 2023, at Ephraim McDowell Hospital in Danville, KY. She now rests in Heaven, though she’s probably, actually clapping, dancing and singing.
She was a beloved daughter, sister, mother and friend who will be remembered as a compassionate woman who spoke her heart, was quick to smile and laugh and was resolute in her love for family.
Brella was a devoted Christian who put her faith in God throughout her life. She took part in multiple church communities in Kentucky and Florida. She attended Community Harvest Church of God as long as her health allowed.
Brella was born on June 1, 1944 in Totz, Kentucky, the daughter of the late A.C. Ford and Mattie Ford, Brella was the sixth of ten children. She graduated from Somerset High School before completing her Nursing Degree at Morehead State University and moving to Louisville to work in the mid-1960s.
She found her calling in nursing and worked at Louisville Methodist Evangelical Hospital where she met her future husband, with whom she had two children.
In 1976, Brella moved with her family to Lutz, Florida. She began working first at University Community Hospital, before finding her true place, working as the Nurse/Office Manager for Pulmonary Disease Specialists of Tampa. The balance of administration and nursing offered both a leadership challenge as well as an environment where she could practice compassion daily. Brella was plain spoken and relied on common sense, kindness and medical knowledge. She was respected and found meaning and joy in her work there.
After a divorce and as her children grew older, she obtained a BA degree in Psychology from St Leo College, traveled to Mexico, became a grandmother, and pursued new interests.
A defining moment in her life was the near-fatal car accident of her daughter, Nina Michelle. Brella left work to be a full-time caretaker and work on her child’s rehabilitation. In her efforts, Brella was tireless- she co-led groups for brain injury survivors and even presented on the needs for improved support for traumatic brain injury survivors to the Florida Legislature. She was an outspoken advocate who had to learn the ins and outs of how to provide support amidst bureaucracy as well as medical support.
Brella moved back to Somerset, Kentucky with Nina Michelle to be with her siblings and extended family after the turn of the century. She continued to care for Nina Michelle and was a trusted medical resource to friends and family. She would generously go to appointments to help them understand what was being said, ask questions on their behalf and support their care.
She worked hard and faced challenges fearlessly, with a fair mix of grit and grace. Brella was loved fiercely by her family, and every day she found a reason to smile. She saw humor in things, including her own failings. Her faith in God kept her always looking up and forward. This world is a little less joyful in her absence.
Bella was preceded in death by her parents; A.C. and Mattie Ford, siblings; Willa Adams, Challis Ford, Lanis Ford, and Eula Grey “Tootsie” Gudal. She is survived by her daughter, Nina Michelle Garau; one son, Kristin Garau (Rebecca), siblings; Wendell Ford (Dorothy), Shirley Rodriguez, Glenna Holloway, Darrell Ford and Kenneth Ford; two grandchildren and numerous nephews and nieces.
Private funeral services will be held on Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 at the Chapel of Lake Cumberland Funeral Home with Pastor Tim Yaden officiating. Burial will follow at Lakeside Memorial Gardens.