ALFRED (AL) W. WARD
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Passed away Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at Mercy Medical Center in Redding of pneumonia, he was 78. Al was born in Fowlerville, MI and raised in Jackson, MI. As a young teen he ran his own bicycle repair shop and later got into cars which lasted him his entire life.
On June 15, 1953 he married his childhood sweetheart Doris (Dody) Marie Vilminot and the had four children, two girls and two boys, Dawn, Kim, Cindy and Allen. Al passed away just an hour and a half shy of their 58th Wedding Anniversary. Al loved his family with all his heart and would gladly die for any one of them.
Al was a Korean War Veteran serving in the United States Air Force from 1951-1955. After the service he worked as a welder at Walker Manufacturing in Jackson, MI. In the early '60's he got into drag racing and later also enjoyed stock car racing, two sports he loved his whole life. He had many favorite drivers including Richard Petty and the John Force family. He opened his first Speed Shop, Speedcraft Automotive in Jackson, specializing in racing equipment.
On New Year's Day in 1968 while watching the Rose Bowl Game Al decided it was time for a warmer climate and so he moved his family to Southern California, settling first in Altadena and then moved to Glendale. In 1972 he moved his family to the San Fernando Valley to Lake View Terrace. He worked for Ford Dealerships and a Cadillac Dealership in Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA as Body Shop and Parts Department Managers. In 1980 he opened two Auto Parts stores, Award Auto Parts, in Sun Valley, CA and continued racing. He also liked taking his two sons and youngest daughter dirt bike riding in Gorman in Southern California.
In 1986 Al and Dody moved north to Red Bluff where Al opened Award Auto Parts on Antelope Blvd. He sold the business in 1997 but continued working there. He quit Award Auto Parts and found that retirement wasn't for him. So he then went to work for Napa Auto Parts on Main St. in Red Bluff.
Al built a pink Pinto with a 429 engine for his youngest daughter, Cindy, who drag raced in Redding along with her dad who had a funny car. They both had many fans on and off the racetrack.
In 1998 Al and Dody opened Sips 'n Snacks Ice Cream Parlor on Oak St. The shop was decorated in a 1950's theme but had to be closed in 2000 after Al suffered a stroke and Dody broke her shoulder.
After his retirement Al still enjoyed watching racing, MMA cage fighting, boxing and football, always cheering on his favorite Oakland Raiders. He also enjoyed other TV shows, playing Monopoly with Dody and going out to dinner with her. His favorite place to eat was M & M Ranch House on Antelope Blvd. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Dody of Red Bluff, three children Dawn, Kim and Cindy, all of Red Bluff. Al is also survived by 16 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his youngest son Allen in 1997.
As per his wishes there will be no viewing or Memorial Service.
Published in Daily News on June 18, 2011