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William W. Ward

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William W. Ward Obituary
William Weaver Ward, "Bill", of Newton, MA, passed away suddenly and peacefully of pneumonia at Newton Wellesley Hospital on February 24, 2014. He had just passed his ninetieth birthday. He was born on February 19, 1924, in Waxahachie, Texas, of the late Dorothy ORourke and Carroll Ward. Growing up in a single-parent household of modest means, he academically excelled at every level. Raised by his Mother and Grandmother in a segregated South, he displayed a precocious grasp of the unfairness that minorities then experienced. As an adult he took part in local racial protest movements of the 60s. In March 1946 Bill was honorably discharged from service in the U.S. Army, having spent most of his time at Iwo Jima as a Technician Third Grade. Years after, he participated in military reunions and received citations for service in the Cold and first Gulf Wars. Taking full advantage of GI benefits, Bill returned to Texas A&M, receiving a BS in Electrical Engineering and then a Masters and PhD at the California Institute of Technology. He was a Registered Professional Engineer. In 1952 Bill joined MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Initially he worked in radar-systems engineering. Then he worked on space communication, primarily the development of systems that serve the diverse needs of the military and civil user communities by means of reliable links through satellites. In 1994 he retired to part-time at Lincoln Laboratory after long service as Manager of Satellite Operations (Keeper of Old Satellites). In 2002 he began working there on a voluntary basis. He reflected: In some sense Ive been following the flag almost continuously since that day in September 1941 when I got off the train at College Station to enter Texas A&M. His work included support of many federal agencies and departments including OSD, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, NASA, NOAA, NSF, and others. He had extensive interactions with government laboratories in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Bill was a member of Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi, a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He was also an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer on Aerospace and Electronic Systems. His lecture, In Celebration of the Pioneers to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Beyond, for example, over many years held audiences spellbound in and outside of the Boston area. On June 4, 1955, in Boston, he married Lydia Maeve McPeek. After taking, for the times, an adventurous honeymoon by car, Bill settled into married life in Newton. An active member of the Parish of St. Paul, Episcopal, Newton, he served on the Vestry, holding the Treasurers job for many years. In a pre-computer age he took pride in balancing the books to the last penny. He was also a member of the Dalhousie Lodge F. & A.M., Newton, and the Scottish Rite Boddies, Valley of Boston. He often took part in the Walk for Hungerall 20 miles. And he judged at high school science fairs and worked at the polls. Ahead of his time, Bill long despised the infernal combustion engine. Too many cars, too many people! he often exhorted. He happily rode the MBTA and carpooled, not owning a car until marriage. Bills sense of humor charmed many over the years. Bah Humbug! he would exclaim any time of the year. Come late November Bill often mischievously paraphrased, The worst words of tongue and pen are just these two, Christmas again! Bills interests also included classical music, vegetable gardening, nature walking, road racing, pets, correspondence, tinkering, and picking up litter. He abhorred mediocrity. When appropriate he would admonish, Poor work! His steadfast character resulted in his often serving as a father figure. He enjoyed interesting cultural programs on TV, trips to Cape Cod and abroad. He spent a lifetime acquiring a diverse accumulation of knowledge. Bill donated blood regularly. In 2003 he received life-saving cardiac bypass surgery. In later years he became an oil-free vegan with great success. To this he attributed reaching a goal of no longer being treated for heart disease, coming off all his major medications (Lipitor, Coumadin, Lasix, etc.) while adding years to his life, and giving up Bah Humbug. Bill also believed this allowed him to stay at home with family and friends during this time, not spending a night in a hospital until the final two days. His wife, Maeve, two sons, Geoffrey and Christopher Ward, and many relatives in Texas survive him. A memorial service will take place on Saturday, May 3 at 1 pm at the Parish of St. Paul, Episcopal, 1135 Walnut Street, Newton, MA. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall. At his wish Bill had his body donated to the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In lieu of flowers send donations to Mass Audubon, Attn. Sarah Joyal, 208 S. Great Road, Lincoln, MA 01773 or via website at www.massaudubon. org/ get-involved/ways-to-give/ honorary-memorial-gifts.

Published in The Newton Tab from Apr. 19 to Apr. 26, 2014
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