John Ward Sr. was born on March 5, 1928 in Blakely, Georgia to the
late Laura Jakes Ward and the late Clifford Ward. The family n1oved to
New Jersey a year after his birth. John was the eldest of three children.
His sister Carmella Hamilton, and his brother Charles, both Newark
residents, are deceased.
John was educated in the Ne\.vark public schools and earned a bachelor's
degree from Rutgers University.
He nlarried his high school sweetheart, Margaret Wilson in 1950, and
then moved to Montclair, whereas, the newly weds joined St.
Paul Baptist Church, and he served on the Board of Trustees, and
they were a part of the choir. John and Margaret n1et as members of
the junior choir at Wells Cathedral in Newark and have been singing
and participating in choirs until the end of 2013. Enjoying a long and
loving maniage, they celebrated their 70TH wedding anniversary last
year. Two wonderful children were bo1n to John and Margaret; John Jr.
and Michelle Denise.
John had many interests during his life. His work experience began in
accounting dwing the early years of marriage, and in 1960 he entered
t4e advertising field. After 32 years, he retired fro111 Lewis Advertising
as Vice President and General Manager.
John was well known for his love of trains and travel. He enjoyed
classical music and was an accomplished fine artist and sculptor. He
travelled with his wife, and often with his children and grandchildren
throughout the states and Canada. He and Margaret also travelled to
Europe, Africa, and China. John taught himself to play the piano "for
his own amazement" as he liked to say, and took cello lessons for five
years beginning on his 80th birthday. A legacy of his art includes life
size portraits of each of his grandchildren. His paintings hang in the
homes of 111any friends and relatives. He had a successful one man art
show in 1969 in New Jersey.
Throughout his life John has been a devout Christian serving the church
in many capacities. In the early years of his marriage when church
service broadcasting was pioneering in Newark, NJ, he served the Old
Taben1acle as radio announcer and coordinator of the Sunday evening
broadcasts. He served as deacon and trustee in both New Jersey and
Southern California where he retired.
John retired in 1993, and in 1995 he and his wife Margaret moved to
California where he continued his devotion to church work and
cotnmunity service. As a member of Claremont United Church of Christ
Congregational, he served as Senior Deacon, served on the Stewardship
comn1ittee, and was a member of the Chancel Choir. He was a board
tuember of Mount San Antonio Gardens, and an officer and member of
the University Club of Claremont. He often played the piano for the
residents of the Christian Heritage Nursing Home in Upland, CA.
John was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather,
uncle, and friend. His love of family was the conswnmate goal of bis
life. His love for his family was not only verbalized, but was
demonstrated daily by his loving actions and support. His positive role
model reflected his integrity, his humor, and his generosity. He always
strove for excellence in continued learning, and devotion to family and
encouraged these values to be internalized not only by bis children,
grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but by his nieces and nephews as
His me1nory will last forever in the hearts and minds of those who love
him. He leaves to m.ourn his passing his loving wife, Margaret, his
devoted children, son John Ward Jr. and his wife Paula, his daughter Dr.
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