Blanche Morrison Ward, 85, died July 21, 2014.
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What began at age 16 as a switchboard operator in 1946 in Dermott, Ark., became a life-long dedication for Blanche. Even her retirement in 1986 failed to dampen her affection and support for Southwestern Bell and then AT&T and all the people she mentored through the years. She rapidly moved up the career ladder becoming a Service Representative in 1957, then Business Office Supervisor in 1960. She was named manager in Morrilton and Conway for SWB in 1972 where in 1974, she was instrumental in ending the 8-party system and installed the first touch-tone phone in Conway. In 1978, she was the first woman named to the Conway Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. In 1979, she moved back to Little Rock to become the District Staff Supervisor for Installment and Repair, breaking the glass ceiling for the women of Arkansas. She is remembered for her "no-nonsense, no whining, get things done" style of management. Along with this approach, she was enormously protective and supportive of those she supervised, and many of them became her closest friends. To her last days, she was both appreciative and loyal to AT&T. She was a pioneer for women in management and for a lifestyle of women working and excelling outside of the home as well as inside.
Her protective nature was even more evident when it came to family. Her two daughters, Peggy Davis Pryor (husband Cactus, deceased) of Austin, Texas, and Patricia Davis Norris (husband Art) of Little Rock, were at the heart of her being. Of course, their children were heirs to that devoted attention. Peggy's son, Stuart Davis Clark of Lampasas, Texas, and Patricia's two sons, Jason Bulloch of Redfield and Joshua Bulloch (deceased), were treated to her endless affection and concern. She was overjoyed by her great-grandchildren. Stuart and wife Julie provided her with Kevin and Michael, and Jason and wife Kim brought Jessi Hall and Olivia Bulloch to her.
Blanche was born in 1929 to Claude and Lovester Morrison in Dermott, Ark.
She was preceded in death by one brother, Windell Morrison (wife Sylvia); and one sister, Becky Davis (husband Cleo, also deceased), both of Dermott.
She is survived by two sisters, Joyce Hall (husband Randall) of Mablevale and Betty Lou Connard (husband Eugene) of Lake City; and one brother, Larry Morrison (wife Wanda) of Rocky Face, Ga.
Blanche was married to: Dean Davis, the father of her daughters; Dee Hartwick; and Gerald Ward. During the years of marriage to Dean and after, the members of the Davis family became additional brothers and sisters to Blanche. Her love of family grew as it incorporated Dee's and Gerald's families. Gerald's sons, Joe Ward (wife Diane) of Conway, Jerry Don Ward, deceased, (wife Sharon) of Damascus; Tracy Ward, deceased, (wife Patricia) of Russellville, all became dear to her as did their combined eight children and nine grandchildren.
Blanche was endowed with a sense of JOY that could not be defeated. She had a very strong drive for hard work and accomplishment, but it was also enormously important to have fun. She had an infectious laugh, and her humor was often directed at herself. Her joy was contagious, and life was easier and more enjoyable around her. She lived as she believed: hard work, fun, honesty, fair treatment. Summing words, among others, are: dedicated, loyal, fun, joyous, protective, confident, aware, loving. The world is a better place because of Blanche. Her family and friends will celebrate her long after her passing and this time of mourning.
There are no words to express adequately the gratitude the family holds for her loving caregivers.
Blanche was a strong supporter of the Democratic Party. To honor that, the family requests no flowers but rather memorial donations to either the Democratic Party of Arkansas, 1300 W. Capitol Ave., Little Rock, AR 72201, www.arkdems.org; or Hospice Homecare at 14 Parkstone Circle, North Little Rock, AR 72116.
There will be a visitation from 6-8 p.m. at Ruebel Funeral Home on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, and a funeral service at 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at Ruebel Funeral Home, 6313 W. Markham, Little Rock, followed by interment at Crestlawn Memorial Park, Highway 64 East, Conway.
Arrangements by Ruebel Funeral Home, www.ruebelfuneralhome.com.
Ruebel Funeral Home
6313 W Markham St
Little Rock, AR 72205
Published in The Log Cabin Democrat from July 21 to July 28, 2014