Thomas E. Ward, 80, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving wife and two daughters on Sunday, December 31, 2017. He was born November 30, 1937 to Charles E. Ward and Eugenia Campbell in Rochester, MN while his father was completing an internship in pediatrics at the Mayo Clinic.
Tom grew up in Jackson, Mississippi and attended Power Elementary School, Bailey Junior High and graduated from Central High School in 1955. At the age of 16, he was the Mississippi Junior Skeet Shooting Champion. He attended Louisiana State University and majored in Mechanical Engineering. While at L.S.U., he was president of the Kappa Alpha Order and a member of the ROTC program. He was inducted into both the Tau Beta Pi and the Pi Tau Sigma honor societies.
In 1965, he founded Ward Mechanical Equipment Company with his wife Fran who was his loyal secretary until his retirement 24 years later. Tom served as the president of the Northside area Sertoma Club, was on the board of the Magnolia Speech School, and was president of the Mississippi chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, Air-Conditioning Engineers. He was an active member of the Classic Cruisers Car Club.
He was a member and faithful supporter of Wells United Methodist Church. Tom was a wonderful Christian husband and loving father. He was a car enthusiast, a great cook, an avid hunter and fisherman, and a craftsman who could design, build or repair anything. Most importantly, he was a mentor and friend to so many. He and Fran welcomed an untold number of young people into their home when they needed a second set of loving “parents.” Tom always had a boat and taught scores of his daughters’ friends to water ski. He and Fran were in attendance or working at every sporting event or school function that their daughters were involved in. They also chaperoned every junior high and high school dance through the years and delighted everyone with their jitterbug dancing skills. He lived by the Golden Rule in his personal and business life, and always treated everyone the way he would have wanted to be treated.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Fran Picarazzi Ward. He was loved and adored by his two daughters, Kathy Warwick (Jon) and Janie Jarvis (Mike), both of Madison, MS. Tom cherished his son-in-laws as if they were his own sons. He is also survived by one brother, Charles Edward Ward, Jr. (Diane) of Florida; his four grandchildren, Hannah Warwick Dykehouse, Graham Warwick, Audrey Jarvis, and Amelia Jarvis; his great-grandchildren, Juliana and Lola Dykehouse, bother-in-law John Picarazzi (Linda) and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Betty Ward Weber and his nephew John Michael Weber.
The family is planning a celebration of his life on Saturday January 27, 2018 from 1:00pm until 4:00pm at the home of Mike and Janie Jarvis, 217 Calumet Dr. Madison, MS. Memorial gifts may be directed to the Magnolia Speech School at 733 N Flag Chapel Rd, Jackson, MS 39209 or www.magnoliaspeechschool.org.