Roy Bowen WARD Jr.

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WARD, Jr., Roy Bowen October 10, 1934 - May 20, 2012 Roy Bowen Ward, Jr., Emeritus Professor of Comparative Religions at Miami University, died on May 20, 2012, at the age of 77 at Woodland Country Manor in Oxford, Ohio. Roy was born on October 10, 1934, in Jacksonville, Florida. He grew up in St. Augustine, Florida, and graduated from Ketterlinus High School in 1952.Roy attended the University of Florida and graduated from Abilene Christian College in Abilene, Texas, in 1956. Roy received his Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) and Doctor of Theology (Th.D., 1967) degrees from Harvard University's Divinity School and was a professor of Religion at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, from 1964 through 2007, and also an Affiliate in History. Roy was also a visiting professor at Rice University, Houston, Texas, in 1970-71. In addition to teaching for over 40 years, Roy authored numerous scholarly papers during his career. While his early work focused on the James of Jerusalem, his later work shifted toward the social milieu of early Christianity. Some of the most notable works from the later period include "Women in Roman Baths," published in The Harvard Theological Review (1992); "The Use of the Bible in the Abortion Debate," published in Saint Louis University Public Law Review (1993); and "Why Unnatural? The Tradition behind Romans 1:26-27," published in The Harvard Theological Review (1997). He was a member and active participant in several professional associations, notably the international Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas. Early in his career, Roy edited Mission Magazine, a progressive Church of Christ publication. Roy's children remember him as an extraordinary father. In addition to being brilliant and thus quite helpful with homework, he also cheered on all of his children at their "events," ranging from sporting events to "It's Academic" competitions to art shows. He encouraged and inspired his children to follow their dreams to be whatever each of them wanted to be in life. His grandchildren knew him as "Poppa" and remember his humor most of all. They also remember the postcards he sent them from Europe, the stuffed animals he gave them for Christmas, wrestling on the floor with the boys, and his undying love for the Yankees. His children and grandchildren will most fondly remember his commitment to being the "voice for those whose voices weren't heard." He stood up for the rights of all people and did so proactively, transparently and with a conviction to make the world a better place through inclusion. He carried that commitment to "standing always on the side of the oppressed" throughout his career at Miami. He was an early member of the National Organization for Women chapter in Oxford, an organization that led to the eventual founding of the Women's Center at Miami University, and a founder of the Women's Studies Program at Miami. He was a life-member of the N.A.A.C.P. and a member of Gay People of Oxford, the predecessor of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender organizations on campus, of which he was frequently selected as faculty sponsor. As Associate Provost, Roy frequently advocated for women and LGBT faculty and students. At Miami University, the 1809 LGBT Alumni annually award the Roy Bowen Ward Scholarship to an undergraduate student in honor of Roy's long-time support of LGBT students at Miami.Roy is survived by his four children and their families: David Alan Ward and his wife, Debbie, of Nashville, Tennessee, and their son, Matthew, and daughter, Susannah; Julia Ward Poston and her husband, Dan, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and their daughter, Rachel, and sons, Brian and Nicholas; Mark Andrew Ward of Oxford, Ohio, and his daughter, Samantha, and son, Taylor; and Nathan Edward Ward and his wife, Frances, of Phoenix, Arizona, and their daughters Madison and Royall Cassidy. Roy was preceded in death by his adoring parents, Roy Bowen Ward, Sr. and Mary Brown Ward. Memorial contributions can be made to the or Planned Parenthood of the Cincinnati Region. Letters of condolence to the family may be sent in care of Julia Ward Poston, 7151 High Pointe Lane, Cincinnati, OH 45248.To honor Roy's life, a memorial service will be held for friends and family of Roy on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm at the Sesquicentennial Chapel on the campus of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The Ogle & Paul R. Young funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Published in Journal-News from May 24 to May 25, 2012
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