A romance in black and white | March 2, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 2, 2012

A romance in black and white

Palo Alto couple to speak about their 52-year interracial marriage

by Sue Dremann

Eighty-year-old Henry Ford sat in the dining room of his Palo Alto home and recalled the day he met Rochelle, his wife of 52 years. He was on a bus traveling to a high school football camp for the first time, leaving his home on gritty Orbin Street in Pittsburgh, Penn., for the white enclave of Ligonier, 35 miles north.

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Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at sdremann@paweekly.com.


Posted by Cathy Latterell, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

What a wonderful story of two remarkable and wonderful friends. Henry and Rochelle many
more years together and you should write a book!

Cathy L

Posted by AMRWR, a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I commend this couple on 52 years together and their capacity for forgiveness of others mistakes.

Posted by pa resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm

What a gorgeous couple they are. Interesting that people's prejudices about race are that much stronger than their prejudices about looks.

Things have gotten better but they aren't uniformly better everywhere. I hope Palo Alto remains one of the better places.

When I was growing up, my parents were the only interracial couple we knew. I wonder how much they shielded us from; what we knew about was enough. Henry's sense of humor reminds me of my dad's.

Thanks for sharing your story!

Posted by congratulations!, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 3, 2012 at 12:05 am

Happily married for 52 years is a great accomplishment.

I'm glad that they persevered despite all the obstacles that society threw in their way.

Posted by Congratulations on 52 years!, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm

I am truly astounded by what the Mr. and Mrs. Ford went through. If I saw them walking down the street, the fact that they are an interracial couple would not have crossed my mind. How far we've come!

Wishing Mr. and Mrs. Ford continued happiness!

Posted by anciana, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2012 at 10:48 am

Yes, what a fascinating story! I knew about part of it because I bought a sculpture from Rochelle many years ago, and she and Henry came on the day of installation to be sure it was correctly placed, and afterwards, we enjoyed a glass of wine together on my patio. They are truly wonderful people.

Posted by Debbie Ford-Scriba, a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:06 am

Love this story!

Posted by Another neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:20 am

Let's never lose sight of the fact that there is still a lot of racism in this world, including all the "liberal" cities as well. Too many times people are discounted because of their race, creed, sex or age. I applaud the Fords for their wonderful, generous nature and the way they've lived their lives. What an excellent example for all children to know about. Rochelle, please write a children's book and sketch some images. It is needed!

Posted by Sue, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:30 am

We are so lucky to have such gracious and talented people share their life story!

Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:34 am

Thank you for sharing your story and thank you for having the courage of your convictions. Love trumps all and Palo Alto is a better place for your residency.

All the best to your very last breaths!

Posted by Sally, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm

You two are an inspirational example of the rewards of choosing one's own life based on one's own values and overcoming societal impediments with fortitude and grace. Thanks for sharing your story.

Posted by Paul Parker, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 11, 2012 at 3:17 am

I had the pleasure of meeting the Fords back in 1998 while installing cable at their home in Palo Alto. I got to talking football with Henry and we really hit it off. Soon, I met Rochelle as well and I have to say that they were always so very pleasant,warm, and welcoming to me. Henry even helped me to acquire tickets to a Green Bay Packers vs. 49ers in Wisconson when I was unable to track down tickets myself. I never knew that they went thru so many trials and tribulations. Over the years I lost touch with the Fords but next time I am in the Bay Area I think that I just might find myself taking a drive down their street and stop by to say hello to them.

Posted by Dale , a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2015 at 5:29 pm

God bless this wise and special couple.

Posted by Schmedly, a resident of another community
on May 29, 2016 at 7:04 pm

The Fords are amazing people. Full of Love, humor, wisdom, tenacity and zeal for life. I was a good friend of their youngest son when I was in college, and spent much time with the family. The Palo Alto community is fortunate to have them!

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