Ralph Frank Ward 1936-2015
Ralph Frank Ward passed away Feb. 12, surrounded by his family, after a hard-fought battle with cancer.
Frank was born May 22, 1936, to Ralph and Mary Ward in Siloam Springs, Ark. He lived in Oklahoma until he was 7 years old, when his family moved to the Burns area. He attended Catamount School, Derby Mesa School and the Burns School. After graduating from eighth grade he attended Eagle County High School, where he and his brother and two sisters lived at the Gypsum Hotel. During his senior year he boarded with the Nolan family.
As a young man Frank worked in the hay fields and also picking potatoes. After graduating in 1956, he worked for the Eagle phone company. He met his wife, Bonnie Terry, when he agreed to take his sister Susie and another girl to the drive-in movie in Glenwood Springs only if Bonnie would agree to go as his date. They were married on June 8, 1958, in Gypsum. They have three children, Lonnie, Debbie and Randy.
After Frank and Bonnie were married, Frank worked at the Gilman mine. Around 1966, Frank became the ranch manager for the Jackman Ranch up Lake Creek, which he managed until 1973. During this time he was also the school bus driver for the Lake Creek, Squaw Creek, and Beard Creek children.
In 1974 he moved to Gypsum and worked for Kaibab Sawmill, where he worked for a year, then took the job with the Eagle County School District as the east end transportation supervisor, where he retired after 25 years.
Frank loved to spend time with his family, spending time with his dogs, hunting and fishing, Jeeping, working on his tractors, spending time in his garden, and mowing hay with his John Deere No. 5 mowing machine.
He is preceded in death by his father, Ralph Ward; brother Jimmie; and sister Georgia. He is survived by Bonnie, his wife of 56 years; children Lonnie (Shannon) Ward, Debbie (Lonnie) Eachus and Randy (Tina) Ward; five grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; three step-great grandchildren; his mother, Mary Ward; sister Susie (Bill) Ellis, of Oklahoma, sister Wanda Terry, sister Berta, of Glenwood Springs; brother Willis Ward, of Arkansas; many nieces and nephews; and his constant companions, dogs Bruno and Scamp.
The funeral service will be Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Eagle Valley High School, with burial following at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Gypsum. Viewing will be at Farnum Holt Mortuary in Glenwood Tuesday between 5 and 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to Crawlin’ to a Cure, Keepin’ Em Real Scholarship Fund, at any Alpine Bank. Checks can also be made out to Crawlin’ to a Cure and mailed to 1760 Gypsum Creek Road, Gypsum, CO 81637.
More than a decade and a half ago, Kobe Bryant came to the Vail Valley quietly. Fourteen months later, he left the same way. In the middle was … well … a media circus.