WILLIAM “BILL” J. WARD

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.

14 guestbook entries for WILLIAM “BILL” J. WARD

  1. Jeff Reilly & Family January 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Bill, you will remain in our hearts forever! We love you! Fly with the angels, you will be dearly missed! Till we meet again!
    Love always,
    Jeff, Tam,
    Blake & Nikki

  2. John & Sharon Williamson January 10, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    Bill
    We lost track of each other but we have thought of you and Luann often. I have many fond memories of you when we worked together. You were a very good friend so many years ago, too many years ago.

    John & Sharon

  3. Kathy Bugliosi Nyberg January 10, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    Cindy,
    Sending my deep sympathy on the death of your father – I was very sorry to see the obituary in the paper this morning. My thoughts & prayers are with you.
    Kathy Bugliosi

  4. Phil Traeger January 10, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    Mike,

    My heart felt condolences on the passing of your father. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time of remembrance.

    Phil Traeger

  5. Dale Nettle January 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    My condolences on Bill’s passing. He was good to me as a kid and I liked him a lot. I talked to him at my Dad’s funeral and he gave me very kind words. My thoughts and prayers to the whole family.
    Regards, Dale

  6. Scott Smith January 11, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    My condolences to the Ward family. He was a good friend of my dad, Gordon. I also have many fond memories of Bill out behind the farm hunting. Everyone liked Bill.
    Regards,
    Scott Smith

  7. Richard & Sandra Larson January 11, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    We were sorry to hear of your loss. We have fond memories of Bill…. He was a friend of my father’s, Gordon Smith. He was a kind man with a heart. I especially appreciated when he and Richard bartered so we could get a desperately needed furnace for our home. (He had his food trailer remodeled).
    Regards,
    Richard and Sandy (Smith) Larson

  8. Scott Smith January 11, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    My mom Leota asked if I would send her condolences. She wanted Luann to know that her thoughts and prayers are with her.

  9. Mint Harris Jr. January 12, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    Luann & Family
    Our deepest sympathy on the passing of Bill. You were always such wonderful neighbors to my parents. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ward Family at this time.
    Sincerely,
    Mary & Mint Harris
    Mint Harris Jr.

  10. Tom Osborne January 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    My condolences to the family upon Bill’s passing. I often think fondly of working with Bill and my father. It was a rewarding experience. Regards,Tom & Ron Osborne

  11. Todd Siegfried January 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Mike,

    Kathy and I are so sad to hear of your father’s passing. Our prayers go out to you and your entire family.

    Todd Siegfried / Kathy Burns

  12. Peg Magill January 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    Mike, we are so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. We will keep you and your family in our thoughts and in our prayers.

    Peg, Frank, Liza and Jack.

  13. Amir & Kelly Amighi January 16, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    Mike,

    I am very sorry to hear of your loss! Our condolences to you and your family.

    Amir Amighi/ Kelleen Burns-Amighi

  14. Joe and Kathy Jukich January 22, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    Luann, I just read the obituary online and was saddened to hear of Bill’s passing. You are in our thoughts and prayers. I think of you often, and all the good times we had. Take care, Hugs

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