Joseph Raymond Ward, Age 77, passed away on Saturday, October 31, 2020 at AdventHealth DeLand hospital in DeLand, Florida. He fought his battle with pulmonary fibrosis and salivary duct carcinoma with faith and courage. With him was his wife, Judy, of 15 years and his four children.
Joe was born in Mankato, Minnesota on August 27, 1943 to Stanley and Cecelia (Fitterer) Ward.He attended school in Garden City, Minnesota and enlisted in the US Air Force after graduation from Garden City High School. During his military career he married Betty Lou Perrigo. Together they had 3 children: Carrie, Christopher, and Cathleen. They later divorced.
Joe was in Aircraft Maintenance at Hill AFB in Layton, Utah at the time of his retirement in 1986, holding the rank of Chief Master Sergeant. After retiring Joe decided to attend college at Weber State University. There received a bachelor’s degree in Sales and Marketing. While in Utah he did sales, drove a bus for the Utah Transit Authority, and installed satellite systems for PrimeStar.
Joe and his wife Suzie ( Ethelyn Sue LaCaze) decided to buy a farm in Browning, Missouri. This beautiful property was adjacent to where Joe’s brother and sister-in-law, Jerry and Peggy Ward lived. In 1996 they moved to Missouri with their young daughter Chelsea, and Joe built the home of their dreams: a log home. Joe and Jerry enjoyed raising their cattle together for many years. And Joe and Suzie enjoyed raising Chelsea and serving together at the Milan Assembly of God church where Joe was Treasurer. Sadly, Suzie passed away of colon cancer on September 24, 2002.
On May 27, 2005 Joe married Judy (Judith Lee Williams.) When they met Joe shared his desire to travel and do ministry. On one of his several mission trips to Guatemala he learned about an organization called Mission Builders which was associated with Youth With a Mission (YWAM.) The first YWAM base they volunteered at was in Ozark, Arkansas. By the time Chelsea was finished high school Joe and Judy were ready to travel and volunteer at YWAM bases. In 2011 they purchased a 40-foot motorhome and continued to live in it full-time for the remainder of their marriage.
During their involvement with YWAM they attended a Discipleship Training School (DTS) in Jamaica. The school consisted of training and then doing an outreach to apply what they learned. The outreach was in Cuba, where they had the opportunity to teach and encourage pastors there. That proved to be one of the highlights of their training. They also volunteered at the YWAM base in Cimarron, Colorado and had the opportunity to help teach and lead a short – term training school for high schoolers.
In addition to traveling and doing missions trips, Joe and Judy enjoyed being with family and friends. Up until Joe’s cancer diagnosis they were able to spend Winters in Florida, Spring and Fall in Missouri, and Summer in Utah. Their freedom to travel was made possible because Jerry and Peg kept an eye on their property and mowed their lawn during the summer. Joe Ward was a man of character and quiet strength. He did not seek to be the center of attention or seek to be in positions of leadership. And yet because of his wisdom and calm demeanor he ended up leading.
Joe was a man of integrity. He loved his country. He loved his family and friends. He was a loving husband and father. Most of all, he loved Jesus Christ. And in quiet acts of service and living out his faith, Joe sought to reflect the One he loved and served. Joe is now with Jesus. And Joe is finally healed.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Ruth, and his brother Jack. He is survived by his wife, Judy; his children Carrie (Mike) Ward, Christopher (Summer) Ward, Cathleen (Jeff) Ward, and Chelsea Boyd; and grandchildren: Alexis, Ashtyn, Kenyon, Kamree, Baylee, Trenton, Avery, Addison, Laeli, Owen, and Brexlee.
Funeral services for Joe will be held 10:00 AM Friday, November 13, 2020 at Schoene-Ruschmeier Funeral Home in Milan. Burial will follow at Enterprise Cemetery, east of Browning, Missouri with Military Rites. A visitation is scheduled for 6:00 to 8:00 PM, Thursday evening at the funeral home.