Gerald (Jerry) Lynn Ward, 86, passed away peacefully on Monday morning, due to complications from Alzheimers and Dementia, August 21, 2017. He was residing in Salt Lake City, Utah at the time of his passing.
Gerald was born on June 5, 1931 in Flint, Michigan to Ray B. Ward and Myrtle L. Thayer Ward. He was the third of their four boys, and helped into the world by his grandmother who was a midwife and helped deliver all four of the boys.
He lived on a 80 acre farm with his family in mid Michigan growing up. He had many duties on the family farm and enjoyed helping his dad and learning how to work hard, a trait that was passed down to his own 3 sons.
He played several sports throughout his school years including basketball, baseball, and football and played some college football as well.
His desire was to become a history teacher and a football coach, so he attended Adrian College. He realized with coaching he would move a lot and didn't want that, so he moved to Lansing to attend Michigan State and enrolled and majored in Vocational Agriculture. This gave him the satisfaction of being involved with agriculture and coaching.
After graduating MSU he moved to Yale, Michigan and taught there for two years, moving on to Lakeville school district. During this time Gerald was involved in FFA, where his team won the state Gold Award, 4-H, parliamentary procedure, and coached a football team that won district, region, and state championships. He decided to return to MSU and finish his masters degree in Vocational Agriculture. This is also where his life changed. He met his sweetheart, and future wife Ruth Anne Harmon in an education class at Michigan State University. During their engagement, Gerald felt a call to enter into the ministry, and attended Owosso College taking theological classes. He was also teaching Biology classes at the college at the same time, and on Sunday was the lay minister for the Oakley Methodist Church. This became too strenuous and his eyesight was failing him, so he had to give up ministering.
Gerald and Ruth were married soon after in a little Methodist church in Perry, Michigan on August 13,1960. This is as Gerald told many later was the happiest period of his life. Ruth and Gerald had three sons: Mark, Jim, and Tom. They lived in LaPeer, and then Linden Michigan, in a beautiful brick home Gerald and Ruth built together. This is where their boys grew up and went to school. They had a 20 acre strawberry farm that the boys all helped work on during the summer. During the school year Gerald was a full time school teacher at Zimmerman Jr. High.
Gerald lost his sweetheart Ruth at the early age of 43 to Leukemia, and had to finish raising his boys without her. He managed this for a couple of years alone, then met and later married June S. Morris in April 1979 in the Salt Lake Temple, after converting to the LDS faith. It was during this time that the school he was teaching at closed and they decided to move out west, about 1983. He got a job teaching in Pocatello. He taught at Highland High School, and then at the Sho-Ban school in Fort Hall. He said he loved working with and loved learning about the culture of the Native Americans. He retired shortly after that, but continued substitute teaching for American Falls High School for quite a while.
Gerald and June were married for 17 years and the marriage ended in divorce. Gerald said he was always grateful to June for her help in raising his sons and with the strawberry farm.
Gerald served a 18 month mission for the LDS church, and kept busy with his beautiful yard, hearty garden and loads of crafts. He was a genius in woodworking and made many treasures that his family still have and use. He was always involved in the community and loved politics.
He was single for 12 years and then went back to the Methodist church in 2005. This is where he met his third and final wife Barbara Sue Nichols. They courted a short time and were married in April 2006. Barbara brought a lot of joy to Gerald and they had a wonderful, but too short marriage together. Barbara left this world on June 30, 2007 due to complications of cancer.
Gerald tried to keep busy travelling, camping and helping out where he could with his sons and their families. He moved in with his son Tom in 2013 so they could help him manage his early stages of dementia and Alzheimers, and lived with them for about three years, staying with his other son Mark in Kaysville, Utah from time to time.
Gerald is survived by sons Mark (Linda), Jim (Tereah), Tom (Nichole); grandchildren Michele (Kenny), Brooke (Jake), Brandi, Rachel (Collin), Miranda, Mikayla; Cody (Lexi), Caylie (JJ), Cambree (Kaden); Cassandra (Ryan), Alex, Natalie (Matt), Tannar, Trayton; great-grand children Landen, Porter, Drew; Kai, Johnny, July; Braxton; Ruben, Nolan, Ammon, Kohen, Abram; Evvi; Tommy;
Preceeded in death by parents Ray B. Ward, Myrtle L. Ward, brothers Buell and Gayle Ward, Wife- Ruth Anne Ward, Wife- Barbara Nichols, Grandson in laws Chris (Brandi), & Carlos (Alex)
Gerald was a wonderful dad, grandpa and great-grandfather. He loved his family very much and always wanted to spend time with them whenever he could. He loved the outdoors, riding his ATV, sunsets, and poetry. He loved the Savior and his family knew of that love.
His memorial service will be held on Friday September 1, 2017 at 4 P.M. at the First United Methodist Church on the corner of Clark & 15th St. Pastor Michael Scarlett will preside. Gerald's ashes will be laid to rest in Linden, Michigan next to his wife Ruth Anne.
Gerald asked that in lieu of flowers for him to please donate to The American Cancer Society, or any worthy cause as you would see fit.