Ice Skating 1
Official Obituary of

Bernard Albert Ford

September 27, 1947 ~ April 6, 2023 (age 75) 75 Years Old

Bernard Ford Obituary

Bernard “Bernie” passed away unexpectedly at his home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, of a sudden cardiac event on Thursday, April 6, 2023. His family and friends are heartbroken and deeply saddened by his sudden passing.

Born in Birmingham, England, Bernie began figure skating at a young age, and while proficient in singles, he was identified as an ice dancing talent and partnered with Diane Towler. Together, Bernie and Diane rose through the ranks under legendary coach Gladys Hogg. Their achievements include gold medals at four consecutive British, European and World Figure Skating Championships (1966-69), along with the 1969 World Professional Ice Dance title. At the 1968 Olympics, they skated in a demonstration event for ice dancing, winning the gold medal and assisting in ice dance being recognized as an Olympic event. Bernie and Diane are credited with revolutionizing ice dance, bringing lifts into the sport, and creating their signature free dance, Zorba the Greek. Their many achievements earned them appointments as Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II, as well as a spot in the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

Upon relocating to Canada, Bernie coached numerous ice dance teams, 21 national champions and multiple international competitors. Most notably he was the proud coach of 1986 world bronze medalists Tracy Wilson and Rob McCall. Bernie’s success earned him the Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award and the Longines-Wittnauer Coaching Excellence Award.

Bernie co-founded the Ford Skating School, which later became the York Region Skating Academy (YRSA), in Richmond Hill, Ontario. At the YRSA, he collaborated to invent the Cha-Cha Congelado, which became an International Skating Union pattern dance. The Town of Richmond Hill recognized Bernie with an induction into its Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. After moving to Seattle, Washington, Bernie produced U.S. national champions and international competitors, and coached ice dance teams from Australia and Japan to world championship competitions. On his return to Canada in 2003, he continued to coach ice dance teams at the national and international levels and in 2007 was inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame.

Over the years, Bernie acted as a consultant to Skate Canada, United States Figure Skating, the Professional Skaters Association, and the ISU ice dance technical committee. He was an NCCP coaching course facilitator and conducted training for coaches and officials, as well as athlete seminars for national sports organizations across the world. Renowned worldwide as a consummate amateur and professional ice dancer, coach, choreographer and a true icon in the sport, Bernie gave his talents equally, whether at the highest performance level or the grassroots, most recently working with Lyndsey at the Calgary North Edge Skating Academy, bringing love for the sport to a new generation of skaters.

Bernie was particularly known for his sense of humour, way with words, love of laughter, and knack for storytelling, which was enjoyed by young and old alike. In addition to his family, he had many passions, including traveling, history, reading, and enjoying the company of his many friends and associates. Within the last few years, Bernie had begun an acting career appearing in TV shows and commercials. Faces of Wendy was very proud to have him on her roster and he thoroughly enjoyed this new endeavor. We look forward to seeing Bernie on TV again soon, as he is featured in the upcoming production of Fargo.

A truly innovative and gifted man, Bernie made an impact on many lives and will be remembered and missed around the world. Rest well Bernie, our hearts are full of love for you always.

He is survived by his beloved daughter Chantelle (Scott); and grandsons Lucas, and Owen, who gave Bernie so much joy. His youngest child Tallinn was a source of much pride and kept him young at heart. He is also loved and remembered by Lyndsey, with whom he spent over 20 years. He was predeceased by his parents, Bertram and Elsie; and Bernie held cherished memories of his late son Serge.   

A Celebration of Life will take place in Toronto, Ontario, this summer.

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