Rural Oregon loses treasured community builder and friend

In memory of Denise Bacon

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The Ford Family Foundation has lost a colleague, friend and passionate community builder. Denise Bacon passed away on October 21, 2022 surrounded by friends and family. Her final days and hours were spent doing what she always did: Bringing people together and building community.

Denise joined The Ford Family Foundation as a field coordinator in June 2016, working to develop trusting relationships with community stakeholders to support long-term, sustainable community action. She was deeply committed to supporting vulnerable populations with a goal of bringing hope and dignity to those she served. More recently, Denise supported youth suicide prevention, the Black Rural Network and community recovery efforts related to the 2020 wildfires in Otis and the Santiam Canyon. But Denise was a life-long community builder.

“I remember when Denise joined our team,” reflected Anne Kubisch, President and CEO. “She said to me, ‘You mean I can get paid to do the work that I would do anyway?’ That comment alone tells you everything you need to know about Denise. She was an invaluable member of our Foundation family, and we will miss her greatly.”

Denise served as city councilor for the City of Newberg, helping create a program to shelter Newberg's unhoused neighbors during severe weather, identifying solutions for more affordable housing and serving on the City’s budget committee. Denise also served as the exchange student coordinator for NW Services PEACE Program for seven years, helping international high school students, host families and communities have positive and meaningful cross-cultural experiences.

She loved time in her crafting studio and with her dogs, but most importantly, Denise was a wife, mother, daughter, friend and colleague. Everyone Denise loved and whose lives she touched will carry on her passion, mission and spirit.

We invite those who want to pay tribute to Denise’s life and legacy to lean into service of others and community building.

Visit the City of Newberg's website for additional information.

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