Willis Ward '61 September 18, 2023 1:20 PM updated: September 18, 2023 1:43 PM
Colonel Willis Nelson Ward
February 22, 1939 — August 21, 2023
Colonel Willis Nelson Ward (USAF Retired), a distinguished member of the United States Air Force, entered his heavenly home on August 21, 2023, at his Jackson residence at the age of 84. He was born on February 22, 1939, in Delight, Arkansas.
Willis had an illustrious thirty-year career with the Air Force, retiring with the rank of Colonel. His dedicated service took him around the world three times. His love for his country was unwavering as he served selflessly in the Air Force. Throughout his career, he displayed exceptional leadership skills and a deep commitment to duty. Colonel Ward's military contributions are immeasurable and will be remembered for generations to come. His colleagues and subordinates held him in high regard for his integrity, intelligence, and compassionate nature.
A proud graduate of Texas A&M University, Colonel Ward cherished his time as part of the Aggie Nation. He never missed an opportunity to reunite with fellow Aggies and share stories of their shared experiences. His pride in his alma mater was evident to all those who knew him.
Colonel Ward's love for the Lord and his faith played a significant role in shaping his character. He dedicated himself as a servant of the Lord and generously gave of his time and talents for the betterment of others. His commitment to his church community and spiritual growth served as an inspiration to many.
One passion that brought joy to Colonel Ward's life was golfing. He had a competitive spirit and enthusiastically pursued this sport not solely for recreation but to win. He considered his golfing buddies as his brothers and cherished the camaraderie shared on and off the course.
His legacy as a dutiful servant, a dedicated military leader, and a loving family man will continue to inspire future generations. His memory will forever be etched in the heart of all who had the privilege of knowing him.
Outside of his military accomplishments, Colonel Ward was a devoted family man. He married the love of his life, Mary Lou Ward, in February 1961 who preceded him in death. Colonel Ward leaves behind a son, Willis Ward, Jr., residing in Raleigh, NC; his wife Linda B. Ward of Jackson, TN, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, step-children and friends.
A Celebration of Life service will be held to honor Colonel Ward's remarkable life. The service will take place on Sunday, September 3, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at Lambuth Memorial Methodist Church in Jackson, TN. Family, friends, and colleagues are invited to attend and share memories.
Colonel Ward’s departure leaves a void in our lives, but his spirit will forever remain alive within us. We remember him with gratitude for all that he has accomplished and for the love he shared with those around him. May he rest in eternal peace.
In the care of Arrington Funeral Directors, 148 W. University Parkway, Jackson, TN 38305.