Dr. Larry Ward, Larry Ward, 78, of Payson, Arizona, was called home by his Lord and Saviour October 25, 2003. He was born December 14, 1924 to Whitney and Orleva Ward in Sidney, New York. Larry grew up in Norwich, N.Y. - - graduating from Norwich High School in 1942.
In 1940 Larry walked the aisle at Letourneau Christian Camp giving his life to his Saviour, Jesus Christ - - singing "Where He Leads Me I Will Follow". Larry followed the Lord's leading to attend Wheaton College. He interrupted his Wheaton studies to serve his country in the Army Air Corps. He returned to Wheaton and received a Bachelor of Arts degree with High Honors with the class of 1949.
Larry held both M.A. and PhD. degrees from Columbia Pacific University, as well as Honorary doctorates from Azusa Pacific University, Warner Southern College and Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea.
He was managing editor for Christian Life and Christianity Today magazines. He was for eight years executive secretary of the Evangelical Press Association and director of its EP News Service. As Director of Informational Services and later Vice President/Overseas Director for World Vision he helped build what is today perhaps the world's largest Christian relief organization. It was during these years that his deep love for the people of Vietnam began.
In 1970 he started the work of Food For the Hungry International to focus his ministry on the needs of the hungry, hurting and homeless people of our world.
In 1979 His Royal Highness Prince Peter of Greece and Denmark bestowed upon Larry the Order of Merit on behalf of the Ancient and Royal Order of St. John. The Wheaton Alumni Association named Larry as Alumnus of the Year in 1981 for "Distinguished Service to Society."
In 1984 President Ronald Reagan named Larry "Ambassador to a Hungry World" and he was awarded the George Washington Medal for individual achievement by Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. Also that year This Poor Man Cried, a book which chronicled Larry's life was written by Norman B. Rohrer and published by Tyndale House. In 1986 he received the Presidential End Hunger Award from the US Agency for International Development.
In the 1990's , after his retirement from Food for the Hungry, he founded Viet/Aid and World/Aid and was a co-founder of Protestant Media Foundation, a division of Hungarian Ministries International.
In 1998 the 27 million member National Association of Evangelicals named Larry the recipient of its most prestigious award, the J. Elwyn Wright Award "for outstanding service in the cause of evangelical cooperation". And in 2000, Mercy Corps presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
He was dearly loved and will be missed by everyone who knew him. His first wife, Lorraine, preceded him in death after 52 years of marriage. He is survived by his wife - June, 5 grown children, 11 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, 1 brother, 1 sister, and 1 step-brother.
A Memorial Celebration Service will be held at Mountain Bible Church in Payson, AZ (302 E. Rancho Rd) on Tuesday, November 18 at 2:00pm. Pastor David Greene will officiate the memorial services.
At a later date his ashes will be scattered over the central highlands in Vietnam. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial contributions be sent to the Larry Ward Memorial Fund c/o Ponderosa Baptist Church, 1107 N. Beeline Highway, Payson, AZ 85541; or in c/o Food for the Hungry, 1224 E. Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034-1102.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Oct. 31, 2003.