Patrick Ford could talk with anyone.
That gift and his hefty legal résumé made him Omaha's attorney for the homeless at Nebraska's Legal Aid.
Ford had been at Legal Aid for 10 years when a 2011 stroke permanently sidelined him. The 70-year-old died Sunday at Golden Living Center near 56th and Grover Streets from complications of the stroke, friends said.
Sean Bradley, an Omaha attorney who had worked with Ford at Legal Aid but now works at Cockle Law Brief Printing Co., spoke of his “dear friend”: “Pat had a deep sense of compassion. It seemed to well from within him, but he wasn't a soft touch by any means. He was one of the smartest lawyers I've ever known. He was a mentor to me in my practice.”
Ford spent most of his 40-year legal career in California, where his work ranged from running the Monterey Legal Aid Society to private practice work.
Ford survived a brain aneurysm years ago that left him bankrupt. He eventually moved back to Omaha, where he began working for Legal Aid.
Dave Pantos, executive director for Legal Aid, said family law — divorce, domestic violence, visitation and child custody — took more than half of Ford's time working with the homeless.
Ford grew up in Omaha, graduated from Creighton University and earned his law degree from Boston College.
A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 2110 S. 32nd Ave.
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