Our dad, Robert "Bob" Ward, died peacefully at his home on June 29, 2016.
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Dad was a man of deep loyalty to his kin. He started his life in the small town of Melrose, Iowa on Dec. 11, 1927. He was the third son of Tom and Loraine Ward. His brothers Joe and Louie came first followed by Rose Marie, John, Gen, Clo Ann, Hannah, and Dick. The family moved to the Gallatin Valley in 1938 and he graduated from Rosary School in 1946. Our dad was united in marriage to Betty Lou Skank on September 19, 1950 at Holy Rosary Church. Then the party really started when the children arrived – Jim tom, Don, Mike, Kathy, Janet, John and Pat.
He lived a very full and active life by serving his community. Some of his passions that he supported were: Rosary School, 4-H, NFO, Young Farmers Group, Habitat for Humanity, Good Sams, Knights of Columbus, Resurrection Catholic Church and Special Olympics. He even got the title of "The Milkman" as he served lunch to college students at Resurrection. Our dad really enjoyed his sports playing baseball and basketball with his siblings for hours. He refereed football and basketball for 15 years becoming a lifetime member of MOA. Dad spent many hours keeping "the books" at his children's ball games, then carried this love of athletics forward cheering on his grandkids, the Bobcats and Notre Dame.
As a family, many weekends were spent camping, waterskiing, and fishing. Throughout his life our dad had many occupations. He owned his own farm west of Four Corners and then started Ward Irrigation. Dad taught all of us kids to work hard and play harder. Dad never met a stranger and could strike up conversation with anyone. He opened our home to many people and cultures over the years.
Dad lost his wife, Betty Lou, to breast cancer in 1986. But with the luck of the Irish behind him our dad met and married the second love of his life, Donna Atwood Ellison on Aug. 8, 1987. Together they shared many wonderful times in their motorhome and travelling the world. Donna brought such happiness to our father as they shared 29 years together. He is survived by his wife, Donna; children and grandchildren: Jim and Janet (Jennifer and Jeff), Tom and Sue (Nathan), Don and Terri Anne (Ryan and Andy), Mike and Jeri (Kris and Brian), Kathy and Paul Arata-Ward, Janet and Paul Grensten (Adam and Jake), John and Beth (Becky, Rusty, Ben and Beth, Tyler and Kyla) and Pat and Kathy (Mitch, Molly and Morgan). He was also truly blessed by great grandchildren Caden and Addie Mae (Ben's) and Jaden and Carmen (Andy's). He is preceded in death by his parents, Betty Lou, siblings Joe, Louie, John and Rose Marie and grandson Brandon.
A celebration of his life will be held on July 5, 2016, 10 a.m. at Resurrection church, Bozeman, MT with a luncheon to follow.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on July 3, 2016