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James E. Ward III

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James E. Ward III Obituary
James E. Ward III

Brunswick, ME

James E. Ward III, loving husband, father and grandfather, gifted teacher and devoted community servant, died on November 11, 2013. He was 74.

Born in Greenville, South Carolina to James E. Ward Jr. and Margaret Hobgood Ward, Jim grew up in Nashville, where he attended the Peabody Demonstration School. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Virginia. In 1962, he married Mary Lee Parker of Shelbyville, whom he met at Vanderbilt.

Jim was a faculty member at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine for 42 years, serving as professor of mathematics and retiring in 2010. In addition to being known as an outstanding teacher, he served as Chair of the Department of Mathematics, Director of the Senior Center, and Dean of the College and was elected to the Board of Governors of the Mathematical Association of America.

Jim was curious, thoughtful, energetic and deeply engaged in a range of activities and local, national and international causes that were important to him. As a young graduate student, he spent a year teaching at Spelman College in Atlanta during the height of the civil rights movement. He spent a sabbatical year at Cambridge University in England and taught as a Fulbright scholar on two separate occasions in Africa. He served Midcoast Maine in various capacities, including as a board member for organizations supporting middle-income elderly housing, vocational education, Head Start, regional anti-poverty efforts, behavioral and mental health services for children and adults, healthcare and musical theater. He was also a two-term member, and chair, of the Brunswick School Board. An active member of the First Parish Church in Brunswick, Jim also served on the board of the Bangor Theological Seminary.

Above all, Jim possessed a kind and generous spirit and looked to help others at every turn. He will be missed by family and the many friends and others whose lives he touched.

Jim is survived by his wife, Mary Lee of Brunswick, Maine; two sons, James E. Ward IV of Falls Church, VA and Robert Parker Ward (and his wife Sara) of River Forest, IL; daughter, Margaret Ward Scott (and her husband Derek) of Atlanta, GA; brother, Harry Hobgood Ward (and his wife Helen Ann) of Brentwood, TN; eight grandchildren, Katherine Ward, Ellen Ward, Jack Ward, Timothy Ward, Sadie Ward, Jake Scott, Andrew Scott, William Scott.

A memorial service will be held 2 p.m., Friday, November 29, 2013 at the First Parish Church in Brunswick, Maine.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program (, 84 Union Street, Brunswick, ME 04011, or the First Parish Church (, 9 Cleaveland Street, Brunswick, ME O4011.

Published in The Tennessean on Nov. 18, 2013
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