April 14, 2015 Meeting
5:30 p.m. at the University Club, 10th floor of the Fifth-Third Bank Building in downtown Grand Rapids. Free parking in the 5/3 underground parking area. Enter from Monroe and tell the attendant you are with the Torch club.
April 14, 2015 Dinner Menu: Garden Salad with balsamic vinaigrette Sliced beef tenderloin with bordelaise sauce, roasted potatoes, asparagus Carrot Cake, House-made Rolls, Coffee and Tea Service
BETSY FORD, Guest Speaker - Retired Grand Rapids Attorney, “Dale V. Ford, Grand Rapids Monuments Man”
Betsy Ford was born in Grand Rapids and graduated from East Grand Rapids High School, Albion College and Wayne State University Law School. She practiced law for 25 years before retiring and becoming a Michigan State certified Advanced Master Gardener and Master Naturalist. She volunteers her time to the Michigan State Extension Office, Meijer Gardens, and a variety of projects supported by River City Wild Ones. She is a founding member of the River City Wild Ones. She is also a watercolor artist and grandmother to four.
During World War II, Nazi Germany looted much of the artistic and cultural heritage of Europe from the countries that it conquered. Art, statuary, textiles and even decorated rooms were removed from public museums and stolen from private residences during the course of the war. Towards the end of the war, the US military embarked upon a mission to locate the missing items and restore them to their rightful owners. The story of this heroic and unique endeavor gradually faded away into the historical mist until the 2009 publication of the book, The Monuments Men, by Robert Edsel. In 2014, the movie, The Monuments Men, starring George Clooney and Matt Damon spread the story of this group of men and women from more than a dozen countries, who were charged with the massive task of finding the looted artwork, hidden in mines and buildings, and restoring it to its rightful owners. Even today, 70 years after the war’s end, hidden stolen property is still being discovered.
Dale V. Ford, a 1937 graduate of Lowell High School and Kendall College was a young officer in the US Army serving in North Africa when his orders took him to Germany and an assignment as a Monuments Man. After the war, he returned to Grand Rapids where he became the President of Kendall College of Art and Design and then the Chief of Design at furniture manufacturer John Widdicomb Co. His daughter Betsy, will share his story using letters, photographs and her father’s momentos.
If you have been unaware of this fascinating story, please look up, The Monuments Men, and join us for a personal story of Dale V. Ford, West Michigan’s Monuments Man.
Please join us for drinks, dinner, great conversation and an enjoyable evening with your friends at Torch Club. See you there!
Drinks and meet and greet begins at 5:30 pm and dinner normally begin at 6:00 p.m.