David James Ward, age 73, a resident of Munising and Elk Mound, Wisconsin passed away suddenly on the Lord’s Day, Sunday, July 25, 2021 at the cabin he built twenty-six years ago on Lost Lake.
Dave was born on October 23, 1947 in Marquette, Michigan. He graduated from Wm G. Mather High School in 1965 and went on to Ferris State University. His education was interrupted when he was called to serve his country in the U.S. Army. Prior to leaving for a tour in Vietnam, Dave married his high school sweetheart, Mary LaFave, on July 27, 1968. After his honorable discharge, Dave earned his degree at Northern Michigan University. He then became an educator and coach for over thirty years with the majority of his time spent at Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School in Wisconsin.
There was something special about Dave; something that is not possible to express in just a few words. He had an inherent way of impacting those around him and in many ways, changing their lives. He was truly selfless and everything he did was for his family and those close to him. He would go out of his way to make things better for his kids and grandkids and had an intuitive way of expecting them to be their best. They would strive to make him proud. He was humble and he left us with an attitude of “don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try”.
Dave was preceded in death by his parents, Jim and Mary Jane Ward; his sister, Connee (Paul) Fejer; his mother and father-in-law, Stowe and Maxine LaFave; and brother-in-law Larry “Bounce” LaFave. As the leader of Ward Nation, Dave is survived by his wife, Mary, of 53 years; his children Jim (Michelle) Ward, Kristen (Ron) Bruder, Tricia (Brandon) Thatcher, Jon (Ashley) Ward; his grandchildren Amanda, David, Matthew, Colton, Nicholas, Emma, Braedon, William, Paige, Trent, Cayleigh, Austin, his great-grandson Everett; brother Rick (Carolyn) Ward; in-laws Kay (Wayne) Dausey, Bill (Jane) LaFave, and numerous nieces and nephews.
And for those close to him, Dave was TBFIAOC, Oddjobco and Padre. He looked forward to Hairy Man Weekend, Canfisco, winters down south, grilling with a drink, and pontoon rides. He leaves us with the “Ward” Old Fashioned, “or no”, “friggin really”, “travel rules”, “who’s mixing”, “you can talk through the screen you know”, and “that’s what’s wrong with kids today”. Dave, Dad, Grandpa will always be the “Leader of our Pack”.
Visitation will be held at the Bowerman Funeral Home on Thursday, July 29, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Father Michael Ocran will celebrate Dave’s Funeral Mass on Friday, July 30, 2021 at 12:00 noon at Sacred Heart Church in Munising. He will be escorted by his grandchildren. Interment will take place at Maple Grove Cemetery at a later date.
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