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Ward D. Belding Jr.

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Ward D. Belding Jr. Obituary
Ward D. Belding, Jr.
Former Resident of Pleasanton
Ward D. Belding, Jr., 77, beloved husband of Patricia M. Belding, devoted father of Susannah and Eileen Belding, dear brother of Richard (Sharon) Belding, and loving uncle of Andrew and Mariana Belding and cousin of George (Dottie) Belding, passed away peacefully in Walnut Creek, CA, on June 27, 2018.
A son of Ward D. Belding Sr. and Helen Elizabeth Norton Belding, Ward was born in Beaumont, Texas and raised in South Pasadena, California. He developed a lifelong love of hiking and the outdoors through his association with the Boy Scouts' summer camps in the Sierra Nevada. For a six-year period, from 7th through 12th grade, he rose early each day to deliver the morning Los Angeles Times. Later, through a Times competition among newspaper carriers, Ward was awarded a full scholarship to attend the four-year college of his choice. He chose Pomona College and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics.
In the summer of 1959, Ward visited Japan with an ecumenical volunteer program to travel and conduct service projects. The following summer, he toured the Soviet Union as part of a student cultural exchange sponsored by the National Council of Churches. Travel and the perspectives gained through cultural exchange remained important to his core values throughout his life.
After graduation from Pomona, Ward was selected as a Fellow in Public Affairs (Los Angeles), with the Coro Foundation. He met his future wife, Patricia McFeely, who was also a Fellow, in his Coro class. He then served for two years in the Peace Corps in Chile, working on rural economic development projects. Upon returning to the United States, Ward attended Syracuse University and earned a master's degree in economics. He joined the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) as a planner in 1967, prior to the construction of the BART system. He served 32 years as a planner and manager at BART before retiring in 1999.
An avid hiker, Ward had visited most of the East Bay Regional Parks many times. His favorites were Morgan Territory and Sunol. He had backpacked in the Sierra Nevada and also trekked in the Himalayas on two occasions. With his brother, Ward hiked a substantial portion of the pilgrimage trail, the Camino de Santiago, in northern Spain. He also enjoyed participating in Masters Swimming and in gardening with California native plants. The family's Pleasanton home was featured at various times on the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour.
However, Ward's lifelong passion was singing, especially music for choral ensembles. Starting with several years' participation in a liturgical boys choir in South Pasadena, he went on to sing with a number of groups, both in college and during his later years. These included many Bay Area choral groups, including the Oakland Symphony Chorus and Chamber Chorus, the choir of St. Augustine's Church (Pleasanton), the Valley Choral Society, Encore, Coro D'Amici, Soli Deo Gloria (formerly the Bay Area Lutheran Chorale), the Berkeley Bach Cantata Group, and the Berkeley Faculty Club Monks. As a member of the Oakland Symphony Chamber Chorus in the early 1970s, he was recorded as a backup choral singer on Van Morrison's "Snow In San Anselmo." The same group performed as additional cast in a San Francisco Opera production of Wagner's Gotterdammerung. In retirement, Ward had participated regularly in the Pleasanton July 4th pageant, dressing as Uncle Sam and leading the crowd in singing patriotic songs with the Pleasanton Community Band at Lions Wayside Park.
Ward had many interests that he loved and pursued with energy, but even more important to him was sharing those interests with family and with friends and colleagues throughout his life...from college, from BART, from the many choral organizations with which he sang, from the hiking fraternity, and from his community. He enjoyed meeting new people, cherished relationships with long-time friends, and valued the memories of shared adventures. He was a generous spirit and friend to many.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1924 Trinity Ave., Walnut Creek, CA. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's, Davisphinneyfoundation.org., 4730 Table Mesa Dr., Ste J-200, Boulder, CO 80305, or the University of California Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr., Berkeley, CA 94720-5045.

View the online memorial for Ward D. Belding, Jr.
Published in East Bay Times on Sept. 2, 2018
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