Harry M. Ford Jr., Legg Mason broker whose career spanned nearly 60 years, dies – Baltimore Sun

Harry M. Ford Jr., whose career as a leading Legg Mason stockbroker and investment adviser spanned nearly six decades, died Dec. 9 at Blakehurst, a retirement community in West Towson. According to a daughter, Kelly Ford Young, no cause of death was available. The former Lutherville-Timonium resident was 91.

“I can’t say enough good things about Harry Ford. He was an outstanding person and as good a friend as you’ll ever meet. He was just a nice guy and a great human being,” said Raymond A. “Chip” Mason, former Legg Mason chairman and CEO.

“Harry was a producer and he had a large book of clients,” Mr. Mason said. “For 20 years, he was our number one producer. He always worked hard — never slacked off — and was always there for the client and they loved him. They must have because he had 300 who loved him.”

Harry McNamara Ford Jr., son of Harry McNamara Ford Sr., an appliance store owner, and Pearl Dunn Ford, co-owner of Dunn’s, a beauty salon, was born in Baltimore and raised in Forest Park and graduated in 1950 from Forest Park High School where he played lacrosse, ice hockey and served as class president.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1954 from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where he played lacrosse.

After graduating from college, he served two years with the Army Supply Corps in Korea, and after being discharged in 1956, joined his father in the appliance business.

But Mr. Ford’s “true passion,” his daughter said, was working as a stockbroker and in 1964 he joined Legg & Co., a predecessor to Legg Mason.

It was a combination of Mr. Ford’s personable demeanor and investment savvy that made him the firm’s top producer.

In 1992, “The Winners Circle,” a book by R.J. Shook and Robert L. Shook about some of the nation’s top financial advisers, devoted a chapter to Mr. Ford.

“From the perspective of Mr. Ford, a 59-year-old Baltimore native who joined Legg Mason in 1964, service is everything,” the authors wrote. “In fact, Oct. 19, 1987, the day the stock market crashed, Legg Mason’s building caught fire, but Mr. Ford kept his customers in mind, refusing to leave the building until he was sure the computers would save his clients’ data.”

He was also profiled by publications such as Money Magazine, USA Today and Warfield’s business magazine.

“We worked closely together for 50 years,” said former Legg Mason vice president, Jim Brinkley, who later became vice chair of Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley.

“Harry was a very caring person and I never heard anyone say anything derogatory about him. He cared about people and had a great sense of humor. You always felt better when you were around him,” Mr. Brinkley said.

“He genuinely cared, and if you needed help, you got it from Harry. He was always available and you could count on him,” he said. “He was a great adviser to clients and he worked hard because he wanted to be the best and he wanted his clients to get better.”

Mr. Ford sat on the company’s board of directors from 1981 to 2004.

In 2020, Franklin Templeton acquired Legg Mason Funds and the brokerage business was merged into Morgan Stanley, from which Mr. Ford retired in August 2023.

Mr. Ford’s other board memberships included the University of Maryland Endowment Fund and the USA Lacrosse Foundation.

“His philanthropic pursuits were numerous, with much done in private, sponsoring many children through high school and college,” according to a biographical profile submitted by his family.

In 1958, he married the former Jody Mitchell. Both shared an interest in tennis, golf, boating and “being cheerleaders for their four children,” according to their biographical sketch.

The couple enjoyed spending summers at Sherwood Forest where they had both attended summer camp, and winters at a second home in Naples, Florida, where he was a member of the Grey Oaks Country Club.

“A true gentleman, Harry was a loyal fan of the city of Baltimore and instilled his love for the Orioles and the Ravens to his kids and grandkids,” according to the profile. “He was a great fan of practical jokes, an avid reader, and lover of old movies. His glass was half full at all times and his smile was given freely.”

He was a former member of Second Presbyterian Church in Guilford.

He was a member of the Baltimore Country Club where a celebration of life service was held Dec. 15 at its Five Farms location in Mays Chapel.

In addition to his wife of 65 years, a homemaker, and his daughter, Kelly Ford Young, of Naples, Florida, Mr. Ford is survived by two sons, Harry McNamara “Mac” Ford III, of Cockeysville, and Mitch Ford of Homeland; another daughter, Christy Ford Crain of Sherwood Forest; 11 grandchildren; and four great-granddaughters.

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