Mary Lou Ward passed away in Roseville, California on December 18, 2019 at the age of 91. Mary Lou's life was filled with love for family, friends, and a deep spiritual devotion to God.
Mary Lou had several aliases. Her husband, Conley Richard (Dick) referred to her as ML, her children called her mom, and her grandchildren affectionately called her Grand Mary.
Mary Lou was born August 31, 1928 in Madisonville, Kentucky to parents Edgar and Eva Kennedy. The family moved to Springfield, Illinois where they remained for 15 years before returning to their Kentucky roots in 1944. While in Illinois, the Kennedys lived across the street from Abraham Lincoln's home and Mary Lou attended Abraham Lincoln elementary school.
Following high school graduation, Mary Lou worked as a secretary at Reynolds Aluminum in Louisville, Kentucky. In the fall of 1946, she entered Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky majoring in Liberal Arts and was also employed as secretary for the Dean of Men. Following her freshman year, Mary Lou returned home to Louisville where she worked for the Banks for Cooperatives until she met and married Dick Ward on November 9, 1951.
Dick was career Navy from 1952 until retirement as Captain and the Director of Naval Oceanography and Meteorology in 1978. The Ward family was always on the move, relocating about every two years alternating between the East and West coasts as well as Hawaii. In between moves, Mary Lou and Dick had four children. Mary Lou kidded that they had one child every 2 years, ""when the ship came in"". After Dick retired, the family moved to Monterey, California until 1999 and then Roseville, California.
Mary Lou was quite active in church and in the communities in which she lived. She was an organist at the First Baptist Church in Carmel, California and a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, she drove veterans to San Francisco Bay area hospitals, she participated in and often times led book clubs, and was a substitute teacher in Norfolk, Virginia. She was also an elite duplicate bridge player and an avid golfer. As the Captains wife, Mary Lou reached out to families of Naval officers to nurture a strong sense of community and offer support when needed. Her leadership resulted in lifelong friendships among many of these families that still exist today. Mary Lou took interest in everyone she met. Her husband often remarked that ""ML could make friends with a telephone pole"".
Her religious devotion strongly guided her lifelong spiritual journey. God was central to Mary Lou and she spent her adult life studying the bible. She was a leader in Women's Bible Study Fellowship and led many bible studies.
Surviving Mary Lou are her husband of 68 years, Conley Richard, her daughters Marsha (Tom) Jones, Valerie (Craig) Beyrouty, and Cynthia Davidson, her son Kevin Ward, her 9 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. Preceding Mary Lou in death was a grandchild, Daniel. A memorial service celebrating the life of Mary Lou will be held in the near future. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Mary Lou's name to Wounded Warriors
or the Western Neuropathy Association.