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Forty years ago, on Oct. 17th, 1980, 20-year-old Memorial University of Newfoundland student Judy Lynn Ford from Port aux Basques was tragically killed while crossing Prince Philip Parkway in St. John's.
According to Peter Jackson, who was an editor at the student newspaper the Muse, “at the time, it was a popular place to cross the parkway because it was near the Chemistry Building, the library and the Thomson Student Centre, and led straight across to the Engineering Building.”
Jackson recalled that Ford was standing at the curb waiting to be acknowledged by traffic. A vehicle stopped for her that was in the closest lane but the driver in the outside lane did not see her.
In a tribute written by biology professor Dr. Frederick A. Aldrich, he states “we — the faculty — must always remember that we are here because the Judy Lynn Fords are here.
“Judy’s death was, and is, a part of our lives. The vigil of the student body and friends has apparently led to the alleviation of the problem of (Prince Philip) Drive. But the tragic events of Oct. 17th had another and perhaps even better affect. The university became a community as I have seldom seen in many years.”
Last year, on the 39th anniversary of Judy’s death, the university held an unveiling of a storyboard in her memory. The event was attended by her parents and sisters.
In 1980, Judy’s death caused a week-long student protest.
In a Telegram article last year, Judy’s father, Rodney Ford was quoted as saying, “it’s great how the students stood up and supported us, at least it will prevent some other family from going through what we went through. It’s always a very sad day — one we’ll never forget.”
In a CBC article, he described Judy as “a really great person. Really outgoing, really kind and always wanted to help everybody. She was never upset over anything.”
Let us never forget the name Judy Lynn Ford.