John Matthew Ward

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2018

John Matthew Ward, 90, passed into the arms of God on Saturday, August 11, 2018.

The memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 18, 2018, at First Baptist Church, 108 W. College Avenue in Tallahassee, with a reception following in the church Welcome Center.  The inurnment will be held at a later date at Green Hills Cemetery in Troy.

John Matthew Ward was born on February 24, 1928 in Pike County, on the family homestead, to K.T. Ward and Mavis Murphy Ward.  In 1946, as a senior at Troy High School, he learned that his name would be called in the next draft, so he enlisted in the United States Navy.  He served for two years on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt air craft carrier.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

After discharge in 1948, John enrolled in Troy State Teachers College and graduated in 1952.  He began work as a District Scout Executive for the Boy Scouts of America and served them in the Pensacola District and later in the Suwanee River Area District.  In 1958, he moved to Lake City and served as manager of the Chamber of Commerce.  In 1959, he moved to Tallahassee as assistant manager of the Chamber of Commerce.  Later he joined the State of Florida in the old Development Commission, where he became manager of the Welcome Stations in the Tourist Division.  After 36 years of State employment, John retired from the Department of Highway Safety.

Survivors include his wife of 69 years, Virginia Borland Ward; son, J. Michael Ward (Pam); eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and sister, Alice Kay Shoemaker. He was preceded in death by both of his daughters, Lanelle Ward Gundlach and Mary Beth Ward Savage, and brother. L.E. Ward.

He was a member of First Baptist Church, where he was a deacon and sang in the Joy Choir.  John enjoyed music, fishing, duck hunting and was an expert wood carver. 

The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been and the memories we’ve made along the way.

Kelly Barber of Bevis Funeral Home (850/385-2193 or is assisting the Ward family with their arrangements.