William Henry Ward, aged 97, passed away peacefully in the late hours of Saturday, April 23, surrounded by family and loved ones. Bill Ward was many things. Bill to most. Billy to his family and a few of his grandchildren. He was also dad, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather to a lucky few. He was beloved by all. Every life he touched, he changed through his grace, generosity, and insight.
Bill was born on May 7, 1924, the first-born of Albert and Maude Ward’s children. He grew up in Algiers Point during the Depression. Bill often told the story of watching his father move their family home from the future site of Behrman High School on logs towed by oxen to the family property on Belleville Street. Eighteen family members including his great grandmother, grandfather, aunts, and uncle were able to live together during these hard years and provided Bill and his siblings a rich childhood filled with many heartwarming memories. They spent much of their childhood outdoors with the neighborhood gang. He learned the lumber trade from his father before heading off to war. On his return, he worked for a short period in their family business, Ward Lumber Company. He soon started his own building business, Bill Ward Builder.
He was a builder. He built homes and businesses across the greater New Orleans area. One of his proudest accomplishments was the body of work he did for the Archdiocese of New Orleans for over 25 years. And he built a family that will hold him forever in their hearts. He was preceded in death by his eldest daughter, Dianne Ward Goodwin (Charles); grandsons C. J. “Casey” Talamo, R. L. “Blake” Bleakley and William Ward Bleakley; and brothers Bernard (the late Elaine) and T.J. “Butch” Ward (Pamela). He is survived by his sister Marjorie Van Dervort (the late Jack) and his brothers A. J. “Jim” Ward (Karen) and R.L. “Bobby” Ward (Jeannine). He is also survived by his loving children William Wynnston Ward (Liz), Elizabeth Ward (Bob) Bleakley, Catherine Ward (Ron) Hubbard and Cynthia Ward (Chuck) Talamo and his grandchildren, Christina and William H. Ward; Justin (Molly) Hubbard and Derek (Heather) Hubbard and Dianne Hubbard Jones (Michael), and Bradley and Melissa Talamo plus ten great grandchildren. Survived also by his loving wife of 21 years, Sylinda and his stepchildren, Elizabethe Bogart Osborne (Shawn) and Christian Brownell Bogart (Kelly) and Bill’s step-grandchildren Madeleine, Julia and Benjamin Bogart and Jack Raymond Osborne.
He was a veteran and war hero. When the world called the greatest generation, he answered. He served with distinction as a First Lieutenant in the US Army Air Corps as bombardier/navigator in a B-24 Liberator, completing 35 runs over Germany. He helped to lead his crew to safety and rescue after being shot down during Operation Market Garden. In his idle hours, he was a gardener. Anything green would thrive under his care and flower at his touch. He particularly loved “orphan” plants. He tended them until he brought them back to a beautiful form of themselves. He will be dearly missed by his extended family and numerous friends he has left behind. Bill was the eldest of 22 first cousins, of which 9 are remaining. He will be remembered for his strength, wisdom, and kindness. Although our hearts are heavy, we celebrate his life and take comfort knowing that he is now and forever watching over us. The family would like to thank his health care professionals Grindl Napoleon and Lydice Ellis, and Notre Dame Hospice for their tender and vigilant care. We would also like to thank Carolyn Kitzman for her many years of devoted service to Bill’s family business. All are welcome for a Memorial Visitation at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on 610 6th Street in Gretna, LA from 9:30-11:30am on Saturday, May 7, 2022. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 and followed with interment with military honors at Westlawn Memorial Park Cemetery on 1225 Whitney Avenue, Gretna, LA. In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer Masses or donations to The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 3121, 475 Monroe St., Gretna, LA.