NEW KENT — James (Jimmy) Dennis Ward, age 94, a long-time resident of New Kent County, VA, passed away on May 3, 2022. He was born in Highland Springs, VA on June 23,1927 and at the age of three his family moved to New Kent. He was the son of the late Dennis Ward and Julia Cary Haynes Ward. He was predeceased by his sister Ann Ward Hockaday.
Jimmy attended New Kent Schools and graduated in 1944 as Valedictorian and was the last remaining member of his class. He was drafted into the Army in 1945 and was selected to attend Officer Candidate School which he declined. The end of the war was imminent; he was discharged in 1946.
In the fall of 1947, Jimmy enrolled in Washington and Lee University using the GI Bill for which he was forever grateful. He received his B.S. degree in Commerce in 1951. He was a faithful alumnus and enjoyed returning to Lexington for class reunions with his 65th reunion being the last.
Jimmy attended a New Kent High School homecoming football game in the fall of 1956. There he met a young school teacher, Mabel Virginia Fisher, who had also attended New Kent Schools. She was introduced to him as Ginny, her college acquired nickname, and he forever called her Ginny. A courtship ensued, and they married the following June. Together, they built a beautiful life based on Christian values, unconditional love and mutual respect and admiration. They enjoyed close to 65 years together.
In addition to his wife, Jimmy is survived by his loving daughter Harriet Ward Gavin and two treasured grandsons, LT Ward Fisher Gavin, US Navy and his fiancé Lindsey Cichocki and Cary Suiter Gavin. He is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.
Jimmy spent his working years in lumber production and sales shipping lumber to factories in the North and furniture makers in the South. As a member of the VA Lumber Manufacturers Association he enjoyed attending their annual conventions. He retired in 1989 and spent 33 years in retirement.
He was an active member of Providence Forge Presbyterian Church where he served in leadership positions including Sunday School Superintendent, elder and trustee. His faith was the guidepost of his life and anchored his love of family, community, neighbors and friends. He helped organize the first Volunteer Fire Department in New Kent and was an early member of the Ruritan Club. He was a long-time member of the Mann Page Masonic Lodge where he served as Master. Jimmy contributed time and effort as a member of the County Selective Service Board and after retirement volunteered with Meals on Wheels.
At the age of 79, Jimmy fulfilled his dream of visiting all fifty states and much of Canada with most of the sightseeing being car trips across the country with Ginny. In later years, cruising was enjoyed. As a proud American/veteran, one of his favorite trips was an Honor Flight bus trip to Washington DC. There, with his good friend Norm Thomsen, he visited the World War II Memorial honoring members of the Greatest Generation.
An outdoorsman at heart, Jimmy enjoyed maintaining his yard and property which he named Windsor Hill. There, he and Ginny built a home in which they lived 52 years before moving to Covenant Woods Continuing Care in Mechanicsville. He enjoyed outdoor adventures on the property with his grandsons who called him Pop. As young boys, Ward and Cary looked forward to activities such as building bonfires, exploring the woods, damming the creek and riding the tractor.
These pleasures sustained him until the end of his life on Earth; a life that was extended in thanks to modern medicine, a will to live and the “grace of God”. A revered figure to many, Jimmy was a man of few words but those spoken were purposeful and meaningful. He was best known for his strong faith, his quiet humility and his gentle demeanor. Jimmy will be greatly missed by all who were blessed to know and love him.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, May 20th at 2 PM at Vincent Funeral Home in Providence Forge. The family will receive friends at a reception following the service at Wallace Manor, 3821 North Courthouse Road, Providence Forge.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Providence Forge Presbyterian Church or the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.