Donald Patrick "Pat" Ward, 85, of Mesa, Ariz., passed away Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Mesa.
Donald Patrick Ward, "Pat" was born in North Dakota on Jan. 24, 1929, to Harold and Esther Ward. He was raised in Palermo, N.D., and graduated from high school in 1947. While in high school, he played basketball and was on the Independent Men's Baseball team as the pitcher or first baseman. He so loved riding horseback that when in grade school, he frequently walked eight miles round-trip to a farm to ride horses.
After high school graduation, he attended Minot State Teachers College. Upon finishing the college requirements, he received his diploma and was hired to teach in a one-room rural school. There were a total of nine pupils in many different grades in his first year of teaching. He pitched in the Border Baseball League in North Dakota for the Noonan Miners. He pitched three shutouts and several no hitters during his baseball seasons there. Pat trained to become a telegraph operator for the Great Northern Railroad and worked in Larson, N.D., for several years.
He served in the United States Army in the Signal Corps from 1951 to 1953, spending 18 months in Korea. He received an honorable discharge at the rank of Sergeant and returned to Palermo and once again worked for the Great Northern Railroad for five more years.
Pat and Diane Brenno were married on July 12, 1953, and began their lives of 60 years together. They attended Minot State Teachers College and received their bachelor's of science in education degrees. Pat taught in Montana and California but eventually left teaching to work for the Aerojet General Missile Corporation as a Technical Writer and Field Service Engineer.
While working for Aerojet, Pat's family lived in Wichita Falls, Texas, and Rapid City, S.D. In 1964, he returned to teaching in California. In 1967, following the death of Diane's brother, Craig Brenno, in Vietnam, Pat, Diane and their son, Scott, returned to Minot, N.D. Pat and Diane both taught school in the Minot Public School System.
In 1969, Pat and Diane received their master of education degrees from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. They continued their careers teaching in the Minot Public School System. In 1991, Pat received an Award in Appreciation from the American Legion Post 26, for his years of Service in the Education Field.
Pat was a very proud father of their two sons, Scott and Charles, who brought great joy and happiness to their family. Pat was a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Minot. He belonged to the American Legion, the Elks and the Eagles. At his death, he was a member of Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Mesa, Ariz.
Pat had many interests. Prior to retirement they included cooking and baking, hunting, trapshooting, motorcycles, horseshoes, golf, bowling and square dancing to name a few. After retiring from teaching, Pat and Diane moved to Mesa. His retirement years were filled with his passions cards, especially Bridge and Pinochle, western novels like Louie L'Armor, and golf, but his favorite was pitching Horseshoes! He received recognition and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Apache Trail Horseshoe League in 2010 for his many years of involvement, dedication, and time to promote horseshoes in the Apache Trail League. Pat also served 10 years as the team captain of Sunland East Horseshoe Team.
Pat's family included his wife, Diane; two sons, Charles Ward and Scott Ward; daughter-in-law, Rebecca, of Peoria, Ill.; two granddaughters, Rachel and Nicole; brother, DuWayne, and wife, Beverly, of Minot, N.D.; his sister, Wilma "Billie" and husband, LeRoy Anderson, of Kenosha, Wis.; and many nieces and nephews.
Pat was preceded in death by his son, Charles; his parents, Harold and Esther Ward; and his brother Ty. He is with them now through eternity.
A funeral service will be held Sunday, April 27, 2014, at 2 p.m., at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, 612 S. Ellsworth Road, Mesa.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Souris Valley Animal Shelter, 1935-20th Ave. SE, Minot, ND 58701, or to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flowers St., Phoenix, AZ 85014.