Miss Jewel Marie Ford loved living life for 33 years! She was born at Emanuel Hospital, Portland Oregon on June 15, 1986 to Rodney Ford and Coral (Anderson Ford) Parham. She had a big personality, engaging with everyone she met - during school days at Grace Collins Memorial Daycare, Sabin Elementary, Beaumont Middle School, and Grant High School; at home on NE 14th Ave and NE 13th Ave; and in activities citywide. Some of her favorite pastimes were dancing and acting. She was an active member of the Grant Gendrills, performing during her high school years and coaching as a young adult. Through these formative years, she was supported and encouraged by her mom, Coral, her daddy, Jerome, grandmothers Georgia Marie and Verta, and grandfather Lawson.
Emanuel Hospital continued to be a familiar place for Jewel as she dealt with the lifelong condition of Sickle Cell Anemia. While she spent many days there as a patient, she also made it one more place she could spread joy and encouragement by volunteering in the Children’s Ward during high school. Service was an integral part of Jewel’s life.
After graduating from Grant in 2004, Jewel went on to obtain her Bachelor of Sociology degree from the University of Oregon in 2008. She returned to Portland to work in social services for several years before continuing her education and receiving a Master of Arts in Teaching at Concordia University in 2015. Ready to pursue new adventures, Jewel moved to Dallas, TX immediately after graduation and began teaching some of her favorite subjects - dance, PE, and English. Her love of learning and exploration was infectious and she once again shared this joy with fellow teachers and students, embracing engagement with each one, with grace and dedication.
Just as Dallas started to feel like home, Jewel was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer in 2017 and after aggressive treatments, went into remission in February 2018. As her community of family and friends rejoiced, she decided to create a nonprofit, Jewel’s Rhema, to develop Warrior Essential Care Boxes, to bring hope and encouragement to other women courageously battling breast cancer. Even when her cancer returned, spreading throughout her body, she was determined to glorify God in her life. She served faithfully in her church, Shoreline City, and shared her testimony at every opportunity. In her final years, God allowed her to travel domestically and internationally, including Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, Belize, and Hawaii. Even abroad, Jewel never met a stranger.
Jewel completed her earthly journey at Emanuel Hospital, after spending her final days celebrating life with family and friends, in her childhood home of Portland, Oregon.
Jewel is survived by her father, Rodney Ford, step-father, Jerome Parham, grandmothers Georgia Marie Anderson and Verda Parham, sister, Antoinette Harrison, brother, Rodney Ford, Jr., eight aunts, eight uncles, a host of cousins and extended family, and an inestimable number of friends.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Coral Parham, grandmother, Jewel Ford, and grandfather, Lawson Anderson.
To know Jewel is to love her. She lived well, providing a reservoir of safety for others while fearlessly facing risks to experience personal growth. Her illuminating presence modeled faith, love, and hope in her ordinary life. While Jewel enjoys eternity with The King of Kings, she continues to live on in our hearts, encouraging us to join her there.
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