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~ Kathy M.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

RIP Michael James Ward of Bend, Oregon

On March 1, my brother-in-law Mike was on a trip to Washington D.C. supporting his favorite cause helping disabled veterans, when he died of a stroke.  The loss to Mike's family, friends and community is huge and is very sad.  Mike's funeral will be held this Saturday in Bend.  Mike is my first husband's brother; uncle to my girls.  RIP, Mr. Ward.  Heart you always.

I copied and pasted the obituary below from The Bend Bulletin's website.  Here is a link to a similar posting on The Central Oregon Veterans website.

Michael James Ward

Published: March 06. 2012 4:00AM PST
Michael James Ward

January 13, 1945 - March 1, 2012

Michael James Ward passed away on March 1, 2012, while on a trip to Washington, D.C., for the Disabled American Veterans organization.  Mike was a strong supporter of American Veterans and a past Oregon State Commander of the Oregon Disabled American Veterans.

A memorial service will be held at the Bend Elks Lodge, 63120 Boyd Acres Rd., on Saturday, March 10 at 2 p.m. 

Mike was born in Oregon City, Oregon, on January 13, 1945, and soon moved with his family to Eugene. Mike relocated with his mother, sister and brother to Bend in 1952. While attending school in Bend he participated in many sports and excelled in cross-country running, pole vaulting and wrestling. Mike returned to Eugene to finish high school, winning two back-to-back State championships in wrestling.

Mike joined the Air Force in 1964, and traveled with the Air Force wrestling team prior to focusing on a maintenance career. He served tours of duty in Turkey, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia.

When he returned home on leave, he stayed with his sister and brother-in-law, Mary Ann and Bud Keown of Crescent. He always felt at home there with their children, Kevin and Kellie. 

He remained in the Air Force until being seriously injured in Korea in 1986. After lengthy rehabilitation Mike returned to Bend, devoting the majority of his time to helping veterans. Mike was instrumental in helping many Veterans receive help from the VA. He was also a major force in organizing the Bend Veterans' Day parade each year. 

Mike is survived by his wife, Sun, daughter, Su and husband, Hasani Davenport, and grandchildren, Tai, Asa and Mia, and Clay of Bend, whom he loved very much; daughter, Joan Ward, and son, Joe Ward of Cottage Grove, who were always in his thoughts; sisters, Mary Ann Keown of Bend, Roberta and husband, Dale Curfman of Olympia; Jackie and husband, Pete Peterson of Pendleton; Kathy Inman of Tacoma; brothers and their wives, Steve and Teresa of Lakeview, Charlie and Cathy of Eugene, Rick of Springfield, Tom and Micky of South Carolina; stepmother Muriel Hilliard of Corvallis; nieces, nephews and cousins, all whom he loved, but too numerous to mention.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Disabled American Veterans, 1503 NE 4th St. Bend, OR 97701

Niswonger-Reynolds is honored to serve the family.  541-382-2471.  Please sign our guest book at

Our Oregon State Representative, Gene Whisnant, wrote this about Mike in his March Newsletter:  

Mike Ward, an honorable representative of veterans

Mike Ward of Bend passed away on March 1, 2012 while on a trip to Washington, DC for the Disabled American Veterans organization. Mike was a tireless worker for veterans who served as Oregon State Commander of the Oregon Disabled American Veterans. Mike and his big smile will be missed by many. I am glad I knew Mike and had the opportunity to call him a friend. His funeral is planned for this coming Saturday, 10 March 2012 at the Bend Elks Lodge, 6310 Boyd Acres Road, at 2 PM.

These two photos were taken a year-and-a-half ago in Gilchrist, when we were all attending my daughter Kristin's fundraiser:

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Kathy I., Me, Cathy and Charlie, Kristin, Rick and Mike

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Me, Cathy, Charlie, Kristin, Rick, Mike and Kathy I.


Mike's funeral was held yesterday at the Bend Elks Lodge.  I am not sure of the actual head count, but at least 500 people attended.  The funeral was a military ceremony.  The Central Oregon Disabled Veterans conducted the services, which included the Air Force Honor Guard and a 21 gun salute, bag pipe players and more. The American Legion Riders escorted the family from the downtown funeral home to the Elks Lodge, and greeted mourners as they entered the lodge.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Thank you so much to all of you who volunteered to spend your Saturday to honor a very active member of the Veteran community.  We know that you will be missing Mike so much, as we all will. 

~ Kathy M.

P.S. - The food was great too.  :>) 

Tribute by Col. David Fairclo, USAF Retired:

Update:  Veteran's Day 2012 News Report Link, "CLICK HERE".

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.  Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Check


Lisa Ricard Claro said...

I'm sorry for your loss Kathy. God bless.

Hart Johnson said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Kathy. It sounds like he did a great deal of good and will be sadly missed. I wish healing for your family.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Sorry to hear about another family loss, Kathy. Wishing you and your family all the best.

Grammy Goodwill said...

Oh, no. I am so sorry to hear of his loss.

Arkansas Patti said...

Aw Kathy, I am so very sorry. He seems like such a nice person and to go so suddenly makes it all the harder. My deepest sympathies to you and his family.

Melissa Bradley said...

I am so sorry for your loss. from your writing he was an inncredible man and the world is indeed a dimmer place without him. I'll keep him, his family and his friends in my prayers.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Thank you, Friends ...

Your prayers and support mean so very much. Mike will be very missed.


Southwest Arkie said...

Very sorry for your loss Kathy.

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Kathy, I am SO sorry for your loss. Mike looked like such a nice guy, and he died on his way doing a good deed, so I am sure the angels whisked him to heaven in an instant. My heart goes out to you and especially your children, in the loss of their uncle. Please send them my condolences.

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