Owen M. Ward, age 92, of Naples, Florida, passed away on July 10, 2018.
He was born October 19, 1925, in Montpelier, Vermont. He was the son of Kenneth H. Ward and Florence M. Ward of Moretown, Vermont. Owen attended The New Hampton School in New Hampshire, and he earned a bachelor’s degree in forest management at Syracuse University.
Owen grew up destined to be involved with the family lumber business. Ward Lumber Company was founded by his great-grandfather Hiram Ward in 1872. His grandfather Burton S. Ward painstakingly built the business despite fires, floods and the Great Depression. Owen’s mother and father died at a young age and he eventually assumed control and management of the business in partnership with his cousin, Holly Ward, who also passed away recently. They were like brothers to one another and they represent an era of tough lumbermen in the history of timber in New England.
Owen became a prominent member of the community in his early years in Vermont. He was on the board of Chittenden Trust Company, one of the largest banks in Vermont at that time, located in the capital of Montpelier. He was on the board of the New England Counsel of Forestry in Boston. He was also a faithful member of the Moretown Methodist Church, as were all the generations of Wards before him. When he retired to Naples, Florida, he owned and operated Owen M. Ward Realty.
Owen was a World War II veteran and served in the Air Force as a pilot and an aerial gunner on a B-29 Bomber. He enjoyed sports and played football and was a pitcher and captain of his baseball team at New Hampton. Later in life he enjoyed playing tennis in Naples with his wife Jean. When Jean died of breast cancer at the age of 59 he remarried Virginia May of Naples. After both sadly losing their spouses they continued to enjoy their lives and their mutual enjoyment of tennis at the Naples Beach & Tennis Club in Naples, where they met.
Owen and Jean had four children, Kenneth Ward of Hartford, CT, Sandra Owler of Naples, FL, Whitney Ward of Vail, CO and Shelley Becker of Golden, CO. He is also survived by nine grandchildren, and too many great-grandchildren to count, and the number is still growing! Owen’s children and grandchildren will always remember his discipline and integrity, as well as his quick wit and sense of humor and his devotion to his family.
There will be a Commemorative Service and luncheon held at Hodges Funeral Home in Naples, FL, on Wednesday, July 18, at 11 a.m. There is an Interment of Ashes ceremony tentatively set for August 23 at the Duxbury Cemetery in Duxbury, Vermont, where his ashes will be laid to rest.