James D. Ward James Darrell Ward, 85, of Visalia went to be with Jesus while sleeping in the early morning of August 21st, 2013. James was born on March 17, 1927 to Lola and Wesley Ward in Visalia, California. Born as an only child and the son of a carpenter, James learned the trade of woodworking, something that would later become not only a hobby but a passion and an incredible talent. In 1949 he met Dorothy Brodersen, a young missionary from Missouri. He knew immediately this was the lady of his dreams and two weeks later while driving north on Highway 99 he asked her to marry him. He pulled over at a nearby drive-in so she could see the ring and give him his well deserved "YES." They were married on August 20, 1949 at Woodlake Baptist Church, which was only seven weeks after they met. They honeymooned on a car trip to Missouri so he could meet her parents and family. They lived to enjoy nearly 64 years of wedded bliss serving as a wonderful role model to their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. In his young adult life James served as a cook in the Navy during 1945 and 1946, a story he loved to tell any and everyone. After leaving the Navy, James worked for Sears and Roebuck as a delivery driver and then for Visalia Unified School District as a delivery driver up until his retirement. James was ordained as a Deacon in the Woodlake Baptist Church on September 11, 1949. He also served in the Ivanhoe First Southern Baptist Church and Woodland Drive Baptist Church. With his love of woodworking James and Dorothy established a small business known as "Grandpa's Wood Crafts". They crafted small toys, cars, trains and many other wooden items that they sold at craft shows and from their home. Many family and friends have a wooden name train handmade with love by James. James is preceded in death by his wife Dorothy, the absolute love of his life, his parents Lola and Wesley Ward, and his Step Mom Bessie Ward. He is survived by his four children Darrell Ward and his wife Betty; Gerry Ward and his wife Vickie; Evelyn Smethers and her husband Dennis; and Charlotte Dunn and her husband Alan. In addition, he was blessed to have 9 grandchildren Brett Ward, Jeremy Ward, Amy Fritts, Melissa Garrett, Stacey Lewis, John Ward, Derek Smethers, Shannon Cauthen and Kyle Dunn; and twelve great-grandchildren. Services for James will be held at Woodland Drive Baptist Church, 1436 S. Woodland Drive, Visalia, CA on Wednesday, August 28th 2013 at 9:30 a.m. Burial will be following the service at Visalia District Cemetery. Condolences may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Salser & Dillard Funeral Chapel
127 East Caldwell Avenue Visalia, CA 93277
Published in Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Adv-Register on Aug. 24, 2013