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Isabella "Bella" WARD

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Isabella "Bella" Ward Isabella "Bella" Ward of Dover, DE died on Friday, April 30, 2004, in Westminster Retirement Village Health Center, Dover, She was 84. Miss Ward was born June 20, 1919, in Elizabeth, NJ. The daughter of the late William J. and Nancy B. White Ward. She graduated form Dover High School in 1937. In 1940 she began study at the Pasadena Playhouse School of the Theatre later the College of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, CA, but war cut short her program. Miss Ward began working in 1943 for the office of Defense Transportation at Dover Army Airfield, now the Dover Air Force Base. When the war ended, she joined the National Repertory in New York City and toured the central and southwestern U.S. From 1948-1953 she joined her sister Margaret in Baltimore, ME, working at the Enoch Pratt Library and performing with the Vagabond Players and directing plays for the University of Baltimore drama group. In 1953 with the death of her father, Bella returned to Dover to be with the family. She worked in civil service at the Dover Air Force Base for 10 years, helping to found the Doer Federal Credit Union, which she served for 12 years as secretary, treasurer and finally president. From 1963-1981, Bella worked as alumni director at Wesley College in Dover, where she often collaborated with her elder sister, Betty Somerville. Miss Ward, during her professional career and in retirement, was active in the Presbyterian Church of Dover, as an elder, circle leader and committee chair. She was a member of the Stockley Center Auxiliary and served as their treasurer for many years. Though her last 5 decades in Dover, she worked tirelessly for the Kent County Theatre Guild, participating in every facet of production. Her performance as Emily Dickinson in "The Belle of Amherst" won her Best Play Award in 1979 at the state level. In addition, she shared her considerable knowledge of Emily Dickinson in Elderhostel program and with other local groups. In 2002, she was presented with the Robert E. Gard Award for superior volunteerism in communication with her work at the Kent County Theatre Guild by the American Association of Community Theatre. She and her mother moved in to Westminster Village Retirement Community, where Bella cared for her mother until she died at the age of 104. She is survived by her younger sister, Margaret Ward Stortz of Rehoboth Beach; 3 nieces and the husbands of 2, Nancy Somerville Martin and Philip Martin of Hartly, Rosa Catherine Stortz of Rehoboth Beach and Martha E, Stortz and William C., Spohn of Oakland, CA; a nephew and his wife, James W. and Harriett Sommerville of Huntsville, AL; and a grand-niece and her husband, Gina Tombesi Baumgartner and Jason Baumgartner of Felton. A service will be held at 11 am May 12, 2004 in the Presbyterian Church, Reed and State St., Dover, DE 19901. Burial will be private. Instead of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the church and/or to the Kent County Theatre Guild. Arrangements by TRADER FUNERAL HOME Inc, Dover. Letters of condolence may be sent to [email protected] 302-734-4620

Published in The News Journal on May 5, 2004
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