Life Story / Obituary
Anson Ward was a very caring man who modeled a lifetime of hard work and sincere compassion for others. He was a loving and supportive husband and father and a cherished friend to many. Anson’s kindness, friendship, and wonderful sense of humor will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
The 1950s were known as the decade of the baby boomer and the modern American family. It was an exciting time indeed with the many talents of Mickey Mantle, Elvis Presley, and James Dean. Television was growing in popularity and families joined together in living rooms across the nation to catch the latest westerns such as Gunsmoke or anything featuring Lucille Ball. Theodore and Gwendolyn (Lyon) Ward welcomed home their newborn son, Anson William, on October 23, 1951, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Born four years after his older sister, Jacquelyn, his birth was a blessing to his loving parents.
Growing up on the west side of town on Pine Street NW, Anson lived a typical childhood of the times. Smiley and adorable, his mother entered him into a photo contest at Herpolsheimers Department Store and he won which confirmed her belief that he was the most photogenic baby! While his mother was busy working, Anson spent time at the local library. His love of reading and socializing probably started during these years. Anson was a strong student at Stocking Elementary and was involved with the JROTC and drill team during his teen years. A proud graduate of the Class of 1969 from Union High School, he spent some time in the Army before he enrolled at Grand Rapids Junior College. He spent the last two years at Grand Valley State University studying military history. In his free time, he enjoyed playing the popular game, Dungeons and Dragons.
His father had dreams of Anson taking over his electrician business. Due to being color blind, he took a different path and worked as a handyman for many years at the Masonic Temple downtown and the City Club. He later landed in quality control at Roskam Bakery where he gave attention to every detail. Anson met Bev Seaman during these hard-working years. The two of them married and welcomed home their son, Ted, who was born so premature that his leg could fit inside Anson’s wedding ring! Also born with cerebral palsy, Ted developed and grew. His family never saw his medical condition as a deficit. Instead, they always encouraged him and celebrated his accomplishments. A remarkable highlight was earning his badge as an Eagle Scout! He and Bev were wonderful parents and made the best of memories as a family.
In addition to his work life and family life, Anson held a wide range of special interests. He was an avid history buff and enjoyed watching the History Channel on TV. Anything related to WWII, Naval and Aircraft history, or science fiction kept him entertained. When it came to music, he loved his sixties era. Janice Joplin and Jimmy Hendricks were his all-time favorites from his early years as a teenager. When it came to food, he was a meat and potatoes man. He loved a good steak or beef roast as well as treating himself to his grandmother’s lemon meringue pie or some dark chocolate or crème puffs!
Social and outgoing, he enjoyed playing games with his game group whenever he had a chance. He and his close buddy, Brent Barto, who rented a room from Anson’s mother, fell in love with board games and military miniatures. He loved being around people sharing laughter and conversation. He and his sister became closer later in life. As Anson’s health declined from his heart attack and later the strokes he suffered, Brent became his full-time caregiver so that he could return home. Anson gracefully departed and left behind a beautiful example of giving selflessly. May his loved ones and many special friends always hold his memories dear and may they be eternal.
Anson William Ward, age 72, of Grand Rapids, passed away on January 26, 2024. He was preceded in death by his wife, Beverly Ward; and parents, Theodore and Gwendolyn Ward. Anson is survived by his son, Theodore “Ted” Ward; sister, Jacquelyn (Avi) Sathe; niece, Lynnette Mileski; nephew, Doug (Pia) Mileski and their children, Alex, Maya and Erik; and special friend, Brent Barto. A special thank you to the staff of Fuller Long-term Care and Leffingwell's Long-term Care Center for the compassionate and loving care shown to Anson.
A memorial visitation will be held from 2-4 PM on Saturday, February 3, 2024, at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt and Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Contributions in his memory may be made to the charity of choice. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to submit a favorite memory, or photo or to sign the guestbook.