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1923 John 2012

John Ward

April 10, 1923 — October 11, 2012

John DeWitt “Zeke” Ward, 89, formerly of Manley Road, passed away on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at the New York State Veteran’s Home in Oxford.

Born in Rochester, NY on April 10, 1923, Zeke was the son of DeWitt C. and Edith (Ballou) Ward. He was raised in Fairport, NY, and graduated from Fairport High School. He spent one semester at Syracuse University before serving with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Zeke completed his service as a Staff Sergeant and also served as a waist gunman on a B-17 aircraft. With the Army Air Corps, he earned the Air Medal with Gold Lead Cluster, the Good Conduct Medal and the Purple Heart.

In 1949, Zeke graduated from Denison University in Granville, OH, and then the Berkeley Baptist Divinity School in Berkeley, CA, earning his Master of Divinity degree. Zeke received another master’s degree in Educational Counseling from the University of Nevada at Reno while serving as a minister at the Stewart Indian School in Carson City, NV.

At one time, Zeke was a chaplain for twelve years at the Chapel in the Pines at “Ponderosa Ranch” in Nevada where the television show Bonanza was produced, and for 20 years served as the Protestant chaplain for the VA Medical Center in Reno. Zeke was also very active in the Boys Scouts of America. He earned his Eagle Scout designation in Fairport, served as the Protestant Chaplain for the local Baden Powell Council and earned the Baptist Good Shepherd Award. Interestingly, Zeke was an “extra” in the movie, “The Misfits,” with Clark Gable and Marylyn Monroe and had a significant role in the made-for-television movie, “Bonanza – The Next Generation.”

Zeke was a member of the Calvary Baptist Church in Norwich.

On April 10, 1949, Zeke married Margaret R. Romine who died on December 17, 1996. On October 10, 1998, in Norwich, he married Anne M. (Horton) Ward, who survives. Also surviving are step-children, Edith (James) Cleaver, of Copperas Cove, TX, Tim Ward, of Norwich, Matthew (Gilda) Ward of Rockdale, Robert (Peg) Ward of Snoqualmie Pass, WA, M. Jonathan Ward of Norwich, David (Marlys)Ward of Endicott, Stephen (Cynthia) Ward of Snoqualmie Pass, WA, Daniel (Julie) Ward of Sherburne; a brother, David B. (Gail) Ward of Scottsdale, AZ and a sister, Elizabeth (Bob) Elder of Portland, ME. Seventeen grandchildren and four great grandchildren also survive. Zeke was predeceased by a step-son, Joseph Ward, two granddaughters, Porsche Marie and Sabrina Ward; a brother, Robert B. Ward, a sister, Louise Ludwig and a daughter-in-law, Elise T. Ward.

A memorial service for Zeke will be held at the convenience of the family. Burial will take place in Foster Cemetery at that time. There will be no calling hours.

Contributions in memory of Zeke may be made to the Calvary Baptist Church, 75 Calvary Drive, Norwich, NY 13815.

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