March 13, 2018

In Memory of Dr. Stephen Paul Ford

In Memory of Dr. Stephen Paul Ford

Stephen Paul Ford passed away at his home in Laramie, WY on March 6, 2018.  Steve was born in Palo Alto, California on October 11, 1948 to Frank and Rosemary Ford and grew up on a sheep and cattle ranch in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.  He received the B.S. Degree in Animal Science from Oregon State University, M.S. in Reproductive Physiology from West Virginia University, and Ph.D. in Reproductive Physiology from Oregon State University. 

Steve began his career in 1977 as a Research Physiologist at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE.  In 1979 he moved to Iowa State University, Ames IA where he established a research program that focused on conceptus:uterine interactions throughout gestation in the cow, ewe and sow with emphasis on factors controlling uterine and placental blood vessel development, function and blood flow.  He also conducted studies on the physiologic and genetic controls of litter size in the pig. 

In 2001, Dr. Ford moved to the University of Wyoming where he was Professor and Rochelle Endowed Chair in the Department of Animal Science.  In that role he established the Center for the Study of Fetal Programming.  The Center studies the impacts of altered maternal nutrition on fetal growth and organ development as well as postnatal health, growth efficiency, reproduction and carcass quality of the offspring using both the sheep and cow in experimental studies.  His research has implications in the production of healthy, growth efficient lambs and calves and the birth of normal healthy human babies.  His program was internationally recognized as evidenced by many publications and awards.  His awards are too numerous to cite but include; the American Society of Animal Science Animal Physiology and Endocrinology Award (2000), the Abraham Lincoln Honor Award from the USDA (2016), and the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station 2017 Outstanding Research Award.  He served the American Society of Animal Science in numerous capacities including: Physiology and Endocrinology Section Editor (1995-1998) and MWASAS President (1998),

Perhaps Dr. Ford’s impact is best summarized in the following statement provided by another prominent animal scientist: “Steve Ford had a tremendous impact on animal reproduction.  He did so in two ways.  First, his research was based on new thinking about the topics he worked on, whether litter size in pigs, placental blood flow in sheep or fetal programming.  As a result, he opened up new avenues of research for the broader scientific community.  The second impact has been his legacy as a mentor of scientists.  He imparted a particular scientific perspective to his students as well as passion for scientific research.  There are a tribe of Ford-educated scientists out there and you can see his strong influence on how they think about science and work at it”. 

Steve is survived by his wife, Marsha Ford; children, Tamara Ford and fiancé Andrew Doria, Joanna and her husband David Neal, and Jessica Ford.  He is also survived by eight grandchildren; Mia, Morgan, Ethan, Nate, Gabriel, Emma, Isabel and Aiden.

A celebration of Steve’s life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 24, 2018 at Montgomery-Stryker Funeral Home in Laramie, WY.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks memorial contributions can be made to Hospice of Laramie and/or to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  Go to to send condolences or to sign the online guestbook.