Mr. Van L. Ward, Sr. was born on March 13, 1929 to the late Charles and Susie Mae Ward in Williamson, Georgia. He accepted Christ at a very young age. He attended Georgia and Florida public schools before making his way to Chicago, Illinois.
While working as a chef on the railroad he met his first wife Ruth D. Worrell and the two were married October 5, 1950. To this union 6 children were born.
Van was a hardworking man who prided himself as a perfectionist and master of his craft at tile and marble setting, and brick laying starting in 1985 until his last job in 2018. He was one of the first African Americans to join the International Union of Brick Layers and Allied Craft Workers in which he was a lifetime member in which he was presented a gold watch that he was very proud of so much so that he passed away wearing it.
Van later remarried to Gussie Mae Townsend in 1982 and although later divorced the two remained close. Van had many hobbies like fishing, playing the guitar, but mostly he prided his culinary skills! He was a great cook but some would say he missed his calling as a comedian. He could tell a joke like no other and loved to hold court and put on a show.
Outside of daddy he was affectionately known as, “Uncle Van”. He leaves behind the following to cherish his memories: his last surviving sibling, Sister Elsie Justice of Orlando, Florida; ex-wives, Ruth D. Ward of Norfolk, Virginia and Gussie Townsend Ward of Chicago, Illinois; daughter, Shirley A. Andrews of Colton, California; sons, Van L. Ward, Sr. of Virginia, Richard J. Ward and wife Vanessa Ward of Hampton, Virginia, Emmanuel M. Ward of Chicago, Illinois, Randy D. Ward of Norfolk, Virginia, Vincent C. Murphy, Sr. of Mesquite, Texas, and Arturo S. Ward, Sr. and wife Michele Ward of Glenn Heights, Texas; 23 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. He made an impact on many lives and will be missed by all.
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