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Autherine Thompkins Ford was the daughter of the late Rev John T. Thompkins and the late Mrs. Corine Butler Thompkins. God saw fit to bless the world on February 18, 1956 in Eatonton, GA with such a beautiful spirit so affectionately known to close family and friends as “Rine.” After hearing her heavenly Father’s voice, On January 07, 2021, she took His hand as He welcomed her into His kingdom.
At an early age, Autherine accepted Christ as her Savior and served Him with reverence. She was a devout Christian who had been a member of Ray Of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, GA for over 30 years. She served on several ministries throughout the years but took great pride in being a part of the Usher’s Ministry and Children’s Ministry as a Nursery Teacher. She always walked in authority and the Godly example she set for her family was very evident. Her fearless faith helped to shape her into the loving and giving person that we all loved. Because of her strong belief of His promises, she made sure her family was grounded in the Lord as well. “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15, NKJV). Autherine made sure everyone in her household had a personal relationship with God and served on a ministry, whether it was Ushering, Dance, Choir or etc. She also made sure that her family gave God the glory in ALL things. Without a shadow of doubt, we know she has officially accepted her royal crown for a job well done.
Autherine’s education began at Butler Baker Elementary School and Putnam County High School in Eatonton, GA, Class of 1974. While at Putnam County High, Autherine met her soulmate, Charles Ford. This began a lifelong love story where they married at the tender age of 23 & 24 years old on July 8, 1979. The relationship between Autherine and Charles can be described as that old school kind of love. After 41 years of marriage, they still dated, laughed at each other, got on each other’s nerves, but most importantly still LOVED, HONORED, and CHERISHED one another until her last earthly day. This love affair produced 3 beautiful daughters, Tiffany, Latoya & Terrica and created a family bond like no other- “The Ford Clan - Party of 5”. Autherine showered her husband and daughters with an endless love, and did not just tell them with words, but showed them with her actions. She made sure her family knew that love was about supporting, encouraging, and serving others. She had an infectious smile that could light up any room. At all times Autherine exuded grace, strength, and confidence that was admired by all. She did not play about her family or friends; she supported and stood up for everyone. She embodied every bit of the phrase “One In A Million, and because she poured tremendous wisdom into all, we know that her sweet spirit will live on.
As her professional life began, she attended and graduated from Morris Brown College with a B.A. Degree in Early Childhood Education in 1978. In addition, she obtained her Master’s Degree from Cambridge University. While attending college she participated in several organizations and activities such as Student Teachers Association and the Urban Youth Association. After graduating from Morris Brown, she acquired her first teaching job in her hometown of Putnam County, and said that those were some of the most enjoyable and memorable four years of her teaching experience. She was a dedicated educator for 42 years where although she retired in 2008, she never skipped a beat & continued to touch the lives of many students through tutoring & substitute teaching. Teaching was her passion as this role allowed her to meet so many people from all walks of life & to have an influential impact on the lives of many. Throughout her career, Autherine received many awards & accolades but one that she took much pride in was the recognition of being Teacher of the Year several times throughout her career. Her philosophy in education was believing that every child needed an opportunity to learn from the guided minds of others who may teach them creativity, inspiration and to help motivate them to their highest esteem. She also believed that every child was special and creative in his or her own way; and that every child was capable of learning when being taught with love. Autherine cared for her students as if they were her own.
Autherine loved to spend time with family, shopping at Rich’s/Macy’s, cheering on her daughters, loving on her grandbabies, playing her lottery numbers(Cash 3 & 4), and always looked forward to her weekly movie nights with her husband, Charles. When asked what she enjoyed most about being a wife and mother, her response was “Being able to love and provide for my family.” Autherine was extraordinarily talented with many skills, so during the last year of her life she picked back up a passion of hers which was sewing. At the onset of the pandemic in 2020, she sat at her sewing machine serving hundreds of families by making fashionable safety masks. Autherine knew and executed her purpose while here on earth. Now she has gained her wings.
As a guardian angel for all left on earth, on last Thursday she was greeted with love by four siblings who preceded her in death: John Thompkins Jr., Rev Timothy Thompkins, Joyce T. Adams and Larry Thompkins; however, her memory will forever be cherished by her family, friends, co-workers & students. She leaves behind her loving husband Charles Ford; three children: Tiffany (Remo) Rowland, Latoya Ford (Corey Massengale), Terrica (Isaac) Walls; four grandchildren: Charles Amir Ford, Iden Alexander Walls, Amari Rowland, and Tiyanna Rowland; 13 siblings: Rudene Ash, Annie Hurt, Robert Thompkins Sr., Martha Parham (Charles), George W. Thompkins (Rachel), Rev. Harriet Camp (Allen), Willie F. Thompkins, Mary Butler, Mildred E. Thompkins, Margaret Howard, Rev. Samuel Thompkins (Ernestine), Joseph Thompkins, and Regina Pennamon; Godchildren: Tabias Thompkins and Tyrah Thompkins; dedicated bonus sisters: Bertha Stuart, Gloria White, and Debra Turner; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Autherine’s Funeral Service will be held on Friday, January 15, 2021, The Plaza Arts Center, 305 N. Madison Avenue, Eatonton, Georgia at 12 P.M. Reverend Cortez Harris will be officiating and Reverend Dr. Cynthia L. Hale will deliver the Eulogy. Interment will follow in East Eatonton Cemetery, 124 Hogan Boulevard, Eatonton, GA 31024. Viewing will take place at the funeral home on Thursday, January 14, from 5 P.M. – 7 P.M. Putnam Memorial Funeral Home promotes adherence to the CDC protocol.
Service of Remembrance Entrusted to Putnam Memorial Funeral Home, 105 Agnes Street, Eatonton, Georgia 31024; Business (706) 484-2522, Cell (404) 803-0852; Harry C. Stafford, Funeral Director; Website: putnammemorialfh.com; “We Care for You and Your Loved Ones”