Anita Alice Cavagnaro Ford
1931 - 2017
Anita Alice Ford, piano performer and teacher, was also known for her participation in several community service activities. A founding teacher in the Pauline Center for the Creative Arts at Pacific Union College, she was a longtime member in, and past president of, the Napa Chapter of the Music Teachers Association of California.
Anita Alice was born in Berkeley, California, on November 10, 1931, the youngest of five children of Pasquale Bertolin and Anita Marie Lutz Cavagnaro. She was musically talented and started piano lessons before the age of six, eventually studying classical repertoire under Alexander Libermann, well known teacher of that time, with aspirations of being a guest soloist with the San Francisco Symphony.
She attended Pacific Union College in the 1950s, where she met Herbert P. Ford. They married on September 7, 1952, in Berkeley and graduated in 1954. She taught piano privately while he served as an assistant secretary of the General Conference Bureau of Public Relations; secretary of public relations, religious liberty, and industrial relations for the Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; and then public relations and radio-television secretary and editor of the Pacific Union Recorder for the Pacific Union until 1969.
At that time, he became director of public relations for the Voice of Prophecy, a position he held until 1974, when he became an assistant professor in the communications department at Pacific Union College. He eventually served as vice president for advancement and public relations at PUC before retiring in 1989.
Anita was a key teacher in the Pauline Center when it started in 1984. She would teach there for over thirty years, nurturing hundreds of musicians. She was honored as an Adventist Woman of the Year in 1988 by the Association of Adventist Women for her community work which included Crisis Help of Napa Valley, Angwin Community Services agency, and Neighborhood Table, a hot lunch program.
Following her death at UC Davis Medical Center on April 30, 2017, at age 85, a memorial service was held in PUC’s Paulin Hall on May 27. She was survived by her husband; their three daughters, Jana Aagaard, Cindy Evans, and Alyssa Morel; four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
Sources: Obituary, Napa Valley Register, 26 August 2017; Ford Family Tree, 1940 Federal Census Records, and California Marriage Index, 1949-1959, all at Ancestry.com; Pacific Union Recorder, 17 December 1951, 8; Australasian Record, 4 November 1966, 5; Pacific Union Recorder, 19 June 1969, 1; 5 August 1974; 3 October 1988, 6; Adventist Review, 15 September, 1988, 6; Napa Valley Register, 26 August 2007; Online postings, “Remembering Anita Ford” Pauline Center, May 1 and 16, 2017.