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Daniel Bertram Ward died on July 30, 2016. Dan was born in 1928 in Crawfordsville, Indiana to Forrest and Ursula Ward. He was preceded in death by his wife, Sue, and is survived by their four children, Forrest, Gordon, Sylvia and Douglas and 10 grandchildren.
Dan was fascinated with Botany at an early age and earned his A.B. in Botany from Wabash College in 1950. He completed his Master's degree at Cornell University before the Korean War intervened and he served in the United States Army for two years, first as a cadre with the Chemical Corps Leadership Program at Fort McClellan, Alabama, and then as a technician in developing and testing chemical munitions at the Edgewood Arsenal facility in Maryland.
He returned to Cornell in 1954, completing his Doctorate in 1958. His thesis was on the numerical analysis of the northeastern species of Sisyrinchium (Iridaceae), this study was among the first to employ mathematical techniques for plant classification. He and Sue then moved to Gainesville for Dan to work at the University of Florida, first as a staff member of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station and curator of the Station's herbarium, then as faculty of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He retired in 1995 with the title Professor Emeritus but he never stopped researching and writing, and was dictating changes to his most recent work, on the early botanist Thomas Walter, as recently as a week ago.
Dan authored two books and over one hundred forty technical papers. His work focused on plant nomenclature, through which he was influential in determining and stabilizing the technical names of many southeastern plant species.
Professor Ward's field trips into the swamps of Florida with his students were legendary. He loved a good road trip and traveled with Sue and his family all over North America in the 1962 International Travelall and Airstream Trailer he still owned at the time of his death.
He was a life long environmentalist, and his passion for the outdoors shaped the lives and careers of his children and family. He was tenacious, brilliant and funny and a trusted confidant.
In honor of Dan's life, the family will gather at the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Reception Hall, 4700 SW 58th Drive, Gainesville, on Thursday, August 4 from 5 to 7 pm. Please join us to remember him and to visit with his friends, children and grandchildren. Please visit his memorial page at

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Published in Gainesville Sun from Jul. 31 to Aug. 4, 2016.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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27 entries
July 25, 2019
Our first year in Gainesville, we went with Dan and Sue to Seahorse Key. I remember Dan helping Forest hold onto the branch of a fallen tree on the sand. Dan liked to challenge his kids in physical efforts. We all went to Seabreeze Restaurant, where we ate a $2.80 mullet dinner with all the mullet you could eat, while we sat on picnic tables inside.
Hard to believe Dan departed so soon. He was so energetic and positive. The next thing we knew, he was gone.
Sandra and Steve Davis
February 15, 2017
Dan and Sue were our friends since the early 80's. We had many adventures into Florida Cypress Swamps all over North Florida in our quest to understand water systems. Dan knew everything about botany, trees and plants and it was always a joy to learn about them. He was a conservationist and was involved with the community to maintain the tree canopy and the wetlands of Gainesville. He loved and missed Sue. He talked of his children at every opportunity. We will really miss him.
` December&Lee McSherry
August 19, 2016
Dan and Sue were our friends since our move to UF in 1966. We enjoyed watching their children grow into independent, successful adults. The family road trip in the Travelall shaped the lives of the children and their futures. Dan was always upbeat, enthusiastic, and full of pep. We will miss his frequent visits and wisdom.
Sandra Davis
August 9, 2016
Sorry for your loss. I worked with him when I work at Rolfs Hall Vascular Plant Herbarium at UF. He loved his collections.
Maryetta Durdley-Mack
August 5, 2016
As a new grad student in the UF Botany department decades ago Dan made me feel right at home. Im forever greatful for that. A wonderful mentor.
Dick Ruble
August 5, 2016
I recall when Dan and Dan Austin collaborated on the FLEPPC invasive plants list. Dan Ward always had a unique perspective which led to lively discussions. You will be missed, Dan! You've now joined Dan Austin in botanical heaven :D
Chris Lockhart
August 5, 2016
While a boy, I often visited Aunt Sula (Ursula) and Uncle Forrest Ward at their house. Dan and his sister Emma were already away at college most of the time. His mother gave me Dan's chemistry set which I enjoyed and then passed on to my younger brothers. I always enjoyed his long narrative letters to me and to my mother; I still have them. My mother (lately with my help) always decorated Dan's parents' grave with flowers on Memorial Day. My condolences to his children and grandchildren!
James McCarthy
August 4, 2016
A gentleman, a scholar, and a wonderful character.
Karen Brown
August 4, 2016
He helped me greatly on a paper I was working on a few years ago. I will never forget his kindness.
Tom Palmer
August 4, 2016
I was truly sorry to hear that Dan had died. I have known him as a colleague in the Botany Department and friend for over forty years. He will be missed. My condolences to the family.
George Bowes
August 3, 2016
The native plant id classes with Dan were an experience I will never forget and the information I took away I am still using daily. He was an excellent teacher with a real love for what he taught. My condolences to his family.
Carol Perfit
August 3, 2016
A great loss for the Botany department.
MW Prine
August 3, 2016
How well I remember Dan, Sue and the children arriving at our home in Ohio with the Airstream trailing behind. Always ready with a great story (often about species we could never pronounce or spell), Dan amused and tutored us with great enthusiasm.
To Forrest, Gordon, Sylvia, Douglas and all of the Ward/Siegfried families, I extend my sympathy and deep affection.

"Aunt" Lindsey
August 2, 2016
I will miss him especially. He had a special point of view - a blend of wit, wisdom and humor that lent clarity to events current and past - usually with a story. The phone message - 'Leave Only Good News Here' - I liked that about him
Kim Cordasco
August 2, 2016
Over the past year I have worked with Dr. Ward on his new book, Thomas Walter and His Plants: The Life and Works of a Pioneer American Botanist. Our unique relationship between author and publisher started with a phone a call. From then, my mode of communication with Dr. Ward was either by phone or snail mail. Working this way was challenging at first but then later I looked forward to his phone call. Dr. Ward was able to give me his comments, in detail, with bursts of local color that included shouts for his son Gordon who helped with technical support such as image file formatting.
I will miss our relationship as I continue working on his book towards publication. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his sons Gordon and Forrest.

Michael C. Brown
NYBG Press
The New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, NY
Michael Brown
August 1, 2016
I had many fascinating conversations with Dan Ward over the years while preparing his articles for publication in the Florida Native Plant Society magazine Palmetto. I always enjoyed talking to Dan. So many of us learned so much from him. He will truly be missed.
Marjorie Shropshire
August 1, 2016
My condolences to Dan's family. I've known Dan since Cornell days in the late 50s! You've had a good full life. Florida botany wont be same without you. Eliane Norman, Stetson U.
Eliane Norman
August 1, 2016
Dan was one of the finest persons Karin and I ever met. We shall never forget our first visit to his home in Gainesville and the time he treated us to fried chicken at one of his favorite chicken places not far from his house. We always looked forward to reading his annual (mostly) Newsletter that was lengthy and filled with stories, especially about his children--his real treasures.

Any person who knew Dan War knew he was a classic and superb botanist. I told him about a month before his death that he was The Code Man. Dan certainly was a scholar of the botanical code and his articles often reflected his expertise.

For the past years Dan was chasing after Thomas Walter; unfortunately, Dan will not see the results of his labors in book form. Dan was always supportive of our work on Andre Michaux.

Florida has lost a legacy. We are proud to have known Dan Ward.
Walter and Karin Taylor
August 1, 2016
Florida has lost a great friend and botanist. Dan Ward was a legend and we can all be so grateful for the many wonderful students he influenced. Love and blessings to the family.
Cammie Donaldson
July 31, 2016
My deepest condolences to the family.
Erin (Becky) Conroy
July 31, 2016
I am sorry for the passing of Dan Ward. I was a colleague of his at the Botany Department between 1969 and 1979. He functioned as a mentor in my early career as a Botany Professor, and was always supportive of my work.

My deepest sympathies to his family and may Dan rest in peace.
Ariel E. Lugo
July 31, 2016
I also went to PK I am so sorry for your loss.
Leslie Simicich (Silver)
July 31, 2016
So sorry for our loss. My sincere condolences to his family on the passing of a loved and honored Gentleman, Botanist, and United States Veteran!
Maura Farrell Miller, PhD
July 31, 2016
So sorry to hear this. Thinking of you all...and alligators. Warm regards.
Caroline Siegfried
July 31, 2016
I went to PK Yonge with Forest, Gordon, Sylvia and Douglas. Sylvia was a dear classmate to me and I'm sorry to hear of their father's passing. My parents lived down the street from the Wards in Golfview and remember that old Air Stream trailer that stood outside their house well. My deepest condolences to you all. Jennifer (Haase) Zarcone
Jennifer (Haase) Zarcone
July 31, 2016
I knew Dan most of my life, and have so many memories spanning from my childhood to just a few weeks ago. Dan was an inspirational teacher, an adventurous explorer, an insatiable student of many fields, including flora, history and tax code. I miss his quick (and sometime acerbic) wit, razor sharp observations, and his story-telling intermingled with teachings of life lessons as well as arcane knowledge! He loved his friends and his family deeply, to which I can attest from the many stories Dan told. And he sure loved his dogs! Above all, I will miss Dan's loyal friendship and interesting times spent with him. Goodbye Dan.
Susan Carr
July 31, 2016
I worked for Dr. Ward at the Herbarium in 1965/66. It was very interesting and he was good answering my questions about plants. I have good memories of my time at that job. My prayer is that God will give you the strength you need during this time.
Glenda (Germany) Shiskin
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