1914 4th Street. Marysville, WA 98270

Renee Ford September 16, 1949 - January 2, 2024

Renee Sahlberg Ford was born on September 16, 1949, to Charles and Doris (Lindstrom) Sahlberg.  She passed away on January 2, 2024.  She is survived by her husband, Anthony Ford; stepdaughter, Molly Ford; granddaughters, Lauryn and Olivea Ford; sister, Gail Brooks; nephew, Van Brooks (Tiffany); and great-nephews, Kyler and Wesson.  Renee was preceded in death by her parents.

Renee grew up in Lakewood, Washington, where she was lucky enough to live in a home built by her father, a Swedish heritage craftsman!  She and her sister had many years of wonderful memories growing up on Steilacoom Lake, and participating in activities as charter members of Christ Lutheran Church.  Renee graduated from Clover Park High School, Lakewood, WA and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in education from Pacific Lutheran University.  She started her career as an elementary school teacher in the local area, Spanaway, and truly enjoyed it.  In the early 1980’s she moved to Minnesota to live with and assist her Grandma Lindstrom, and stayed and taught there for three years in Lake Park, Minnesota public schools, before returning to teach in Spanaway and elsewhere for an additional 30 years.  It was in Lake Park that Renee and Sheryl Lachowitzer became lifelong best friends!

Renee and Anthony married in 1989, and started their life together in Bellevue, Washington.  Renee continued teaching in the state of Washington public school system, and, during that time also completed a Master’s Degree in Education with training in specials needs children such as ADHD. Renee taught in the Issaquah and Marysville, WA schools, ending her public school teaching career with a Contract Cooperative Classroom in Marysville where parents made a “contract” for their children to be in Renee’s class in exchange for 2 hours per week as a teacher’s assistant. In those classes, Renee emphasized reading, “cursive” writing (!), arithmetic as well as good manners.  Consequently, Renee had a waiting list of parents waiting to enroll their kids!!

Renee and Tony eventually moved to Camano Island, Washington, where they built a life that they truly cherished over an additional 29 year time frame.  She commuted in order to continue to teach, and eventually retired, only to add on 6 more years of teaching pre-school at Stanwood, WA at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church which she also loved. A total of 39 years teaching!! On Camano Island, Renee made another lifetime friend, Kitty Tanji. Many fun walking trips on Camano commenced with Kitty and other girlfriends, with and without dogs!

In her earlier years, Renee enjoyed snow skiing, and she and her family made fun memories on skiing trips that happened during her winter break from school.  Later, she and Anthony became boat owners, and had years of fun visiting many destinations in the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands in both sailing and power boats.  They then transitioned to the RV life, and made great friends while exploring Washington, Oregon, Arizona and northern California with friends Joy and Norm, and Andy and Vicky.  Renee was very proud of her Swedish heritage and was grateful to have the opportunity to travel to Sweden several times, to visit relatives and experience the lifestyle there.

Everyone who knew Renee knew she was always working on either a crossword puzzle or Sudoku, and always had a sewing or crochet project going.  Many of her loved ones have memories of her in the form of afghans, dishcloths, pillows, or framed needlework. Also, her Christmas gifts of scones and rhubarb/strawberry jam to Minnesota “Family” as well as friends everywhere!  Tony reminisces that Renee also ran a ‘tight’ household budget (‘You can always tell a Swede, you just can’t tell them much!’); cooked wonderful meals; and was truly loving of, and dedicated to,Tony, Molly, Olivea and Lauryn as both a First Mate to Tony and a “Mor-mor’ (Swedish Grandma) to her granddaughters!

Memorial donations can be made to The NOAH Center, which is the nonprofit animal adoption center where Renee and Tony found their beloved dogs, past and present.  https://www.thenoahcenter.org


  1. Lee Raaen says

    Renee and I were second cousins. Growing up, we saw each other often because both families lived on the west coast and were away from our Minnesota roots. I was able to visit Renee at the hospital during her last days as I live about a mile from the hospital. While she could not talk, she was able to communicate and was aware of visitors. Renee will be missed.

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