John Wesley (Jay) Ward of Greenville passed away peacefully in
his sleep on August 23, 2020 at the age of 89. He was born to HB and Marie Ward
on December 9, 1930 in Beeville, Tx. The
Ward family soon moved to Gladewater in East Texas where Jay’s dad HB found
employment with Humble Oil.
Jay always had an affinity for music, and by the time he was in
high school people had started asking him to sing at weddings. He happily did
so as he was a born performer. At Gladewater High School Jay played the Baritone
in marching band and met a cheerleader named Lula Nell Roberts. He wanted to
ask her out, but he had one problem. While he did have a drivers license, he
did not have a car. His best friend, Jack Foshee, had a car but didn’t have his
drivers license. Jack was dating Lula’s cousin Beth. So the guys came up with a
great idea that Jay would drive Jack’s car and they could all double date! Both
couples ended up marrying.
After graduating, Jay received a scholarship to attend East Texas
State University in Commerce. He graduated with a Bachelors of Science Degree
and also a Masters in Music Education. Jay and Lu were married in 1951. During the summers, Jay worked at the Humble
Oil Camp in Gladewater as a ‘roustabout’ and has always told many stories of
his adventures climbing the oil derricks
while working there. They used the money to attend college classes all
during the year. After college they lived in Gladewater for a few years, then
settled down in Greenville in 1957 when Jay was offered the position of Choir
Director at Greenvillle High School. He loved choir directing and had great fun
being around the energetic teenagers. In 1960 Jay accepted a position at Temco
( now Raytheon) and began a 34 year career there, ultimately becoming a Program
Manager. He really enjoyed his job and all the people that he worked with. He
also sang at several of Temco’s Christmas Programs.
Jay was a faithful member of Johnson St. ( now Creekside) church
of Christ, serving as a deacon for many years and also as Worship Song Leader
for 50 years. Wherever Jay and Lu lived, he was always volunteering to lead the
singing at church and help with music education classes. Throughout his life,
Jay used his talent to sing for many weddings, funerals, and other events. Jay
was a wonderful provider and family man.
He really doted on his kids and grand-children and never missed one of
their events, always loudly cheering them on.
Jay is survived by his wife of 69 years, Lu ; daughter Julie and
her husband Mike Metscher of Austin; grandson Kurt Metscher of Austin;
granddaughter Jaime and her husband Jeff Cawyer of Dallas; and
great-grandchildren Merritt and Sloane Cawyer. Preceding him in death were his
son, Wesley Wayne Ward (1973) and his brother Ed Ward (2016).
We would like to thank the staff at Briarcliff Nursing Home for
the wonderful care they gave him during these last five months.
Visitation will be on Tuesday, August 25th at Coker Mathews
Funeral Home from 1-3 pm. The graveside service will be Wednesday, August 26th
at Memoryland at 10 am. We are requesting that everyone limit the size of
gatherings during the viewing due to concerns regarding Covid. Please feel free
to come and pay your respects but limit your contact with others per
recommended guidelines from the CDC.