William “Bill” Ward, of Braham, passed away on Friday, January 6, 2012 at his home. He was 77 years old.
MEMORIAL SERVICE will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church of Braham with Fr. Nicholas Zimmer and Deacon Tom Pinataro officiating.
MEMORIAL VISITATION will be held 1 hour prior to the service at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to hospice.
William Jeremiah “Bill” Ward was born on April 26, 1934 in St. Paul, Minnesota to Geraldine and William Ward where he joined his sister, Kay. He attended St. Columba Grade School and graduated from Wilson High School. In his early years, Bill spent his summers in Crestbard, South Dakota at his Aunt and Uncle’s farm. He LOVED his summers spent on the farm and never tired of telling stories of Aunt Maggie’s cooking and Uncle Steve’s gentle tutelage. Bill’s country roots were firmly planted during those years. His love of the outdoors never failed to bring him joy.
After high school, Bill served a brief period of time in the Navy and Air Force. Upon returning home, he attended the University of Minnesota and secured his first job at Tjernlund Sheet Metal.
He married long time friend and “girl next door,” Luann (Young) Ward in 1957. To that union, they welcomed five (perfect) children. In 1966, they moved to Hibbing, Minnesota where he worked at Range Cornice. He eventually started his own business, Mesaba Sheet Metal. During the years he spent in Hibbing, he was a member of numerous clubs including the Elks Club, Lions Club, Knights of Columbus and Snowcome Snowmobile Club. He also enjoyed moose and deer hunting, bow hunting, fishing, curling and downhill skiing. During the summer months, he spent time on South Centre Lake in Lindstrom where he built a beautiful cabin. He enjoyed boating, was a natural on water skis and taught his children and many a guest how to drop a ski. Bill also acquired his flying license and spent hundreds of hours in the sky, often taking his children along with him to “practice” take offs’ and landings! Shortly after acquiring his pilot’s license, Bill purchased a small Cessna airplane affectionately known as “Triple Niner Tango.” Often he would buzz the cabin in his plane before landing. That was his children’s cue to pick him up at the nearby airport.
In 1991, Bill sold his business and retired. He and Luann enjoyed a Gypsy lifestyle for a year before purchasing property near Rush Lake. This was a special project for Bill because he bought the home in Coon Rapids and moved it 60 miles to its current location. NEVER a dull moment! Bill was an endlessly energetic and no topic was off limits. He enjoyed many diverse hobbies, including making maple syrup, raising honey bees, building elaborate model airplanes and fish houses, roasting and hosting pig roasts, watching John Wayne movies, throwing pottery, and, of course, logging nearly as many hours cutting grass at the Purple Hawk Golf Course as he did in the sky with “Tango.” EVERYTHING was of interest to him. He was a curious, open minded and wonderfully charming man with a very sharp and witty sense of humor; he was never shy with a compliment. These qualities certainly provided for much laughter and a very full and interesting life for him as well as all who knew him.
In 2000, Bill’s children surprised their parents with a trip to Ireland. Of course, he kissed the Blarney Stone – not that that was at all necessary for he had already been blessed with the gift of gab! One of the biggest adventures that he and his wife took was a trip down the Mississippi River in a 21 ft. Cuddy. They passed through 52 locks on the way down to St. Louis. Bill always did have sort of a Huckleberry Finn quality about him. Both Bill and Luann enjoyed a long and wonderful retirement. Another blessing to count!
Bill passed away on January 6, 2012 at 77 years old. He is preceded in death by his parents, brother-in-law, Lee Whitehurst and nephew, Mark Whitehurst.
Bill is survived by wife, Luann; daughters Cynthia (Ralph) Duquin of St. Paul, Colleen (Brad Pitt) Ward of St. Paul, and Peggy (Brian Erickson) Ward of St. Paul; sons Michael (Elizabeth) Ward of Palo Alto, CA and Brian (Becki Mastin) Ward of Lakeville; grandchildren Olivia and Isabel Duquin of St. Paul; and sister, Kay of Anoka. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, other dear relatives and friends.
We would like to especially thank the Jim and Marietta Reilly family, the Mike and Connie Reilly family and Dr. Vercellotti and team for the love, friendship and care that they extended to our family throughout the years and within these past few months. Bill loved you all.