Dennis Eugene Ward
December 27, 1945 ‒ April 16, 2009
MANSFIELD: Dennis “Denny” Eugene Ward dedicated his life to rallying around his family, fellow soldiers, co-workers, teammates and friends… and now let’s all put our rally caps on for Denny, for now he has fought the good fight, finished his race, all the while, keeping his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 4:7).
Denny passed on Thursday morning, April 16, 2009 from Hospice House to his eternal home in heaven.
The second son born to Charles Miller and Ruth Virginia (McDanel) Ward, Dennis was born December 27, 1945 in Mansfield. Spending most of his childhood and young adult years in the quiet village of Bellville, Dennis was graduated from Bellville High School in 1963, the last class before the consolidation of the Bellville and Butler Schools. After high school, Denny felt that maybe the Lord was calling him to serve His people through the church. He attended Kentucky Christian College in Grayson, Kentucky. Later, Denny decided that maybe he would be inspired in another direction and returned to Mansfield to attend North Central State Technical College.
It was while tagging along with his big brother on dates that Dennis met Cathy Peterson, the girl next door. Their three-year courtship led them to marriage on September 2, 1967.
Dennis was already serving in the Army overseas in Germany when he and his young bride were wed. Their plans to travel Europe on a yearlong honeymoon were cut short when he received orders sending him to Vietnam. A medic on tour, Dennis saw the very worst side of war, and suffered great emotional wounds at what he observed. However, he found the silver lining of it all in meeting and helping the Vietnamese children. His letters never included details of the devastation, but joyful stories and photos of those innocents touched by war.
Upon returning home, Dennis and Cathy set up house in Mansfield and prepared to begin their married life and family together.
Denny worked 30 years for McLain EZ Pack, the former Peabody Galion, in Galion as a production planner. When the shop closed its doors, he went to work for Gorman Rupp in Mansfield in the shipping department.
He was a member of Southside Christian Church, and his faith was more in his thoughts than on the tip of his tongue. Uncharacteristically, Tuesday Dennis kept repeating to his family “El Shaddai” the Hebrew translation for God Almighty, giving them the hope to let him go peacefully.
A man who could do or fix anything, Dennis was a great woodworker. He made all kinds of shelves, tables, toy boxes, hope chests and other furniture that adorn his family’s homes.
He was also a great sports fan and played on a semi-pro baseball league. Denny enjoyed competing on adult softball and soccer leagues, and enjoyed bowling and golf as well. His talent and athleticism he passed on to his two daughters. He coached both their softball and soccer teams, and actively played into his 50’s. More recently Denny watched rather than participated and could often be found in front of the television with the Indians, Browns or Buckeyes. Just Wednesday night he was watching his favorite NBA team, the Cavaliers.
Dennis was also a fisherman and enjoyed trips to Lake Erie with his friend and cousin John Ward. Though the catch was usually plentiful, Denny rarely brought his game home… instead he would give it away or simply throw them back. This remained a mystery to his family because Dennis loved a good fish fry!
A kid at heart, Denny loved playing with his trains, something he often shared with his grandson “Jakey.” He also enjoyed reading and doing crossword puzzles.
Most of all, Denny cherished his wife, daughters, grandchildren and family.
In addition to his wife Cathy Peterson Ward, Dennis is survived by “his girls” Carrie Ward and her boyfriend Pete Rabquer of Mansfield, and Mandi and Craig Green of Mansfield; two grandchildren Jacob and Emalie Green; his mother Ruth Ward of Bellville; brother and sister-in-law Paul H. and Cheryl Marsh Ward of Atlanta, Georgia; father-in-law James Peterson of Mansfield; two sisters-in-law and their spouses Cyndi and Tim Wellborn of Columbia, South Carolina, and Cim and Thom Tupps of Mansfield, nieces Maryelizabeth Ward, and Ruthann and T.J. Rust all of Georgia; a nephew Chris Coey of South Carolina; a great nephew and great niece Trevor and Lauren Rust; cherished cousins John and Marilyn Ward of Fredericktown and their family B.J. and Tomi Ward, Reagan Ward, and Jamie Ward and Way Ward.
His father Charles Ward preceded him in death on March 21, 2003. Also preceded in death are his mother-in-law Anna Mary Peterson, and brother-in-law Jimmy Peterson.
The Ward family will receive friends Sunday, April 19, 2009 from 1-5 pm in the Lexington Avenue Snyder Funeral Home. Calling will continue Monday from 12- 1 pm in Southside Christian Church, 2055 Middle Bellville Road, Mansfield, where the funeral service will follow at 1 pm. The Rev. Paul Lintern will officiate. Burial with military honors conducted by Irvin Hiskey Post #535 American Legion will follow in Caesarea Cemetery.
Memorial contributions to the Dennis Eugene Ward Scholarship Fund may be made through the funeral home.