In Memory

Martin Ford

Deceased Classmate: Charles Martin Ford
Date Of Birth: Dec-02-1949
Date Deceased: 2013
Age at Death: 63
Cause of Death: Liver failure
Classmate City: Wichita
Classmate State: KS
Classmate Country: USA
Was a Veteran: No 
Survived By: Nick Ford........son Sarah......daughter

He went by the name Marty. Marty and I played in the same band, the Downbeats from 1964 - 1970. I was very close to Marty, and visited him frequently in Lampe, Missouri shortly before his death. He would have graduated from North in 1967, but attended Heights during his senior year. So, many people knew him. Great friend.....great musician/guitarist......miss him a lot. 

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07/08/17 12:42 PM #6    

Donald Sailing (Sailing)

07/09/17 10:51 PM #7    

William Rickman

Don what a great picture, and thanks for sharing your memories. Marty and I became friends in jr. high and were into all kinds of summer fun. I remember being at his house a lot and thinking how cool his mom was. She always mowed the lawn and after, had herself a beer. Moms didnt do that back then! Like you guys there are so many good times in those days with Marty and all you guys. My favorite Marty story is about the 40 Ford. Note in the photo he hadnt yet tinted the windows, but when he did, he would never roll them down or let any of us roll them down for fear of scratching the tent. So we'd cruise through Wichita, 140 degrees in the car, but no air. And as part of the story, I am sure you guys remember when we went to Sandys or any drive-in, Marty would always play "hey someone spot me $$ for fries and coke... all I have is a $20 and I dont want to break it for a few quarters!

We all loved the Downbeats and its really special you guys reunited and got to see Marty toward the end. I friended him on FB and we communicated briefly, but didnt know he passed until Craig Steward told me. Very sad.

Fond memories of David Ross and David Carie as well. Ross had the coolest job in high school... lifeguard. Got a great tan, didnt go to work til 1pm, got off at 8 and partied late with us, then, unlike most of us, didnt have to get up early to go to work! Finally David Carie. He and I have Eddie Raymond were great friends in our neighborhood in grade school. We used to spend afternoons after school at Davids, listening to Duane Eddy and him play guitar. He was a master even at a yound age. Later he taught my brother Randy guitar. As for my brief episode with rock fame, the summer between 5th and 6th grade, David, Gary Bolen and I had a band and were a huge hit at Show Wagon all over Wichita. Even performed on TV. Our signature song was "Kansas City. I was lead singer and the only one in the group who really had no talent! Got a photo of us somewhere I will have to look up.

Hey about cars... you guys still into them. I really wasnt after highschool, but started back in 1990. Have 3 now in the collection and except for this year, have brought one of them almost every year to the Moonlight Madness Show in old town.

As you said Don, Curly, Ross, Marty, David will be missed at the reunion, but hope to see you all there.

07/10/17 08:30 AM #8    

Donald Sailing (Sailing)

Bill, I have several great memories of that '40 as well.  Marty and I were heading north on Broadway one time, and he got that beast up to 85 mph!   He told me afterwards, that we were really hanging by a that car was probably on the very edge of being out of control.......wandering....shaking....     I remember that '40 well.   1962 Olds bucket interior trim panels....'48 Mercury flathead....'39 transmission.   He bought it from Danny Massey for the paltry today's standards...of $450.00.   When Danny Massey owned it, he had it painted compete in Valley Center by a painter named Vonley Hines.  Sweet job.   I also remember seeing it parked halfway around a corner in Benjamin Hills with the right rear wheel and axle extending about a foot outside of the fender.  Oh no!   That happened more than once.  And, I remember when he spray-tinted those windows!   And, I remember Marty always bragging that the clock on the dash still worked!  

I've had some good cars over the years.  Two years ago, I retired from the Collision Repair/Restoration business.  I've enjoyed doing restorations for guys.  You probably know that Dave Beckel has had a restoration shop in Derby.  I saw a '64 Riviera that he did......unbelievably nice!  That's great that you've shown some cars in Wichita!    It's been a few years since I've had any car to show.....the last one was a Cutlass for my son.   I've been busy with kids and grandkids......  My favorite....a '40 Ford Deluxe Sedan has always eluded me.................

Both of Marty's parents, Chuck and Goldie, were cool.  When we got the Downbeats back together and went to Marty's parents house, Goldie remembered us all!    Drummer John Bowman brought some reel-to-reel tapes with him from Chicago.  Turns out, they were some live recordings of the band from 1968.  We put those songs on some CD's.  Perhaps I'll make some copies to bring with me at the reunion for anyone interested. They're free!  

During one of our practices at my house on a Saturday afternoon in 2000, some neighbor of mine called the cops......we were too loud......?     The cop who came to my door was shocked when he saw that we were all "old guys"!   Marty told him, "If they didn't want you to play that amp on '10', they wouldn't put a 10 on there"!!   It was kind of an honor to have the cop tell us we needed to turn it down.......kind of verified that "we were back"!  ha    Anyway, I could go on and on.  I'm looking forward to the Oct 6 Friday get-together......Marty and all the others that are gone will be with us in spirit! 






07/11/17 10:20 AM #9    

William Rickman

Don, too long of a post, but remind me to tell you a great story about John Bowman and Cynthia, my house, Denver, 1972.

07/11/17 02:46 PM #10    

Craig Steward

This is a Wonderful thread by a Bunch of Folks that are North Icons for me!

07/12/17 12:41 PM #11    

Donald Sailing (Sailing)

Bill......I will!  You probably know John and Cynthia are still together and have nine grandkids....they are pretty much retired, and their kids are running the "store".  They've done very well and are kliving the good life!  When the band got together in 2000, John gave the Downbeats rides in his plane over Marty's house!  Great times!  

I have some "stories" about John as well........really looking forward to this reunion. 

Craig........"Icons"?   I love it!!!

07/12/17 11:20 PM #12    

William Rickman

I lost track of John and Cynthia years ago, so lot to catch up on. I actually was a friend of Cynthia's, I think before John met her. John and I were fraternity bros at WSU. He and Cynthia lived with me and my first wife the summer of 1972. Couple of funny stories. If you talk to him before the reunion, ask him how he got his first photography teaching job!


07/20/17 04:53 PM #13    

John/Rocky Gawthrop

Marty was a regular over at the Hillside house. Plenty of fun took place there as we got ready to go to the clubs for the night. We went to many concerts including the Texas International Festival in Dallas over the 1969 Labor Day weekend. We also attended the Stones, Eagles, Allman Brothers, Led Zepplin Marshall Tucker Band, and others. Marty was nice enough to share his parent’s cabin at Table Rock lake. We certainly has a lot of fun back then and I have very fond memories of Marty. May he rest in peace.

09/06/17 02:33 PM #14    

Becky Collom

Marty was my cousin.  He lived on Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks a few houses from where my parents retired. He was a great help keeping watch over them.  My sisters and all of our children met there every summer for many years.  One of the highlights of the trip for all of our kids was hanging out with Marty and his son, Nick.  Marty jokingly called it his "summer camp."  We all miss him.

07/06/19 10:51 AM #15    

Donald Sailing (Sailing)

Hey everyone!   I have a story.  A story that Marty played a huge part in.  If he were here today, he'd be excited to share it!  

On my 50th birthday, Marty called to wish me a happy birthday.  We visited quite awhile and talked at great length about the Downbeats.....the band he and I played with from '64 to '70.  He said we should get the guys together for some kind of reunion.  I agreed, but I'm pretty sure we both secretly felt that might be a tough thing to do, as several of the guys lived in different cities.  After our phone call ended, I gave considerable thought to that ......for about two minutes ......... and I called him back to say I was going to pursue getting in contact with everyone and make it happen!  So, long story short, he and I began locating everyone and set a date to meet at his house in Lampe, Missouri.  In the fall of 1999 all six of us.....Gary Bolen, Marty, Dave Gaston, Lanny Gaston, John Bowman, and myself met up for a great weekend of reuniting and laughter, and of course, playing music together.   It was as if we just picked up where we left off....thirty years earlier!  To be together again in one spot was surreal!   

A few weeks later, John Bowman called from Chicago to tell me he found a box in his basement that had some large audio tapes labeled "Downbeats 1968".   All of us had no idea what might be on those tapes.  So, the next time John came to Wichita, he brought the tapes.  Myself, Gary Bolen, and my longtime friend and neighbor Dan Dillon who was news director for KFDI radio, took those tapes to a studio at KFDI that still had large reel-type recording equipment, and we listened to them!   We became immediately overcome with emotion as we knew it was us!   Back in 1968, we had made some live recordings at a local studio that were to be used as audition tapes.  Somehow, all of us had completely forgotten about them!   So......the phone calls and emails started!   We couldln't believe this discovery!  How was this possible?   We made the decision to do the only thing we could do......have CD's made from the tapes.  I believe we had about 2,000 made, and gave them to family and friends everywhere.  And.................of course.................this was the amazing discovery that inspired us to officially "get the band back together".   So, the practices my house in Wichita, and at Marty's place in Lampe.  Practice makes when we were ready....we played several gigs in Missouri near Marty's place in late 2000 and early 2001.  To be on stage again with the same six guys....playing the same '60s rock and roll we played thirty years earlier, was absolutely wonderful!    All six of us continued to stay in contact with each other.....still great friends with a whole new set of great band memories!  

As everyone knows, we lost Marty in 2013.  A great loss for all of us and everyone who knew him.  I was blessed to call him a best friend since he and I were 14 years old!   

And.....a couple of years ago, we lost Lanny Gaston, trumpet player.  Another great loss.  Lanny and his brother Dave joined the band in late '66 and brought a whole new dimension to us with horns!  

So..........back on that night of my 50th birthday, I was so glad Marty called.  That conversation started it all.  Had we not gotten everyone together again, that box of audio tapes in John Bowmans basement in Chicago, might still be there today!  

One more small thing........since all the CD's we had are gone, my son recently took the liberty of putting the eleven songs from that CD on youtube.   If you look up Downbeats 1968 youtube, you'll find a picture of the band with pretty decent recordings of those eleven songs that everyone will remember.  There are other bands called Downbeats on you tube.   So.....make sure to click on the Downbeats 1968.  

One more quick sidenote......when the band would work on a new song, we always tried to fit the right person....the right a song.  When it came to decide who should do the speaking part in the middle of "Cool Jerk", Marty was the unanamous choice!   I'm sure everyone will recognize his voice on that song.  He ROCKED it!! 

If Marty was still here to see the CD on you tube,  he would be so excited!       RIP Bud

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