American Veteran 01

James R. Ward

August 12, 1921 ~ January 24, 2020 (age 98)


James R. Ward, 98, resident of Glen Ellyn for 63 years, passed away on January 24, 2020 at Wynscape Health & Rehabilitation, Wheaton.  Jim was born August 12, 1921 in Aurora, Illinois to Rev. Elias and Genevieve (Robertson) Ward.  Although his home base was Aurora, he lived in and attended elementary schools in Plattville, Sheridan, Paw Paw and Hampshire; Jim graduated from Plainfield High School in 1938.  He attended Northwestern University where he joined the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and became a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and the Deru Society; he served as editor of the Daily Northwestern in 1941.WWII interrupted his senior year studies as he worked in the Office of Civilian Defense-Youth Division as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s staff.  In 1942 he then graduated from Northwestern and also received a commission as a Navy officer. Jim served as an aviation specialist stateside and later in the South Pacific as Senior Lieutenant Fighter Director aboard the light aircraft carrier USS Bataan (CV-29) until the end of World War II in the fall of 1945.  Following the war, he returned to Northwestern to complete his Master of Science in journalism in 1949; his first job was writing news for CBS in Chicago. He transitioned to work as special assistant to the president of Hotpoint and later was with R. H Donnelly/Donnelly Marketing’s (Oakbrook) as Midwest sales manager for 32 years. Following “retirement” in 1986, he purchased Hinsdale Travel which he continued to own until 1996.  He then shifted to selling farm real estate with Coleman Land Company (St. Charles) from which he fully retired in 2007 at the age of 86.

Jim married Mary Lorena (Marilo) Lotts (Mendota & Ottawa) in 1947; they were together 41 years until her death in 1988.  JoAnn (Hickey) Williams (Glen Ellyn) and Jim were married in 1989 until her death in 2009. 

Jim had many interests and supported many organizations through his active participation. These included: founding the Lake Ellyn Yacht Club, First Methodist Church of Glen Ellyn, Wheaton Community Radio Amateurs (call sign W9DHX), Boy Scouts of America, American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Skål International travel, Clan Donnachaidh Society (Scottish heritage), Sheridan Historical Society, Northwestern University’s John Evans Club, and The Chicago Farmers for which he was international travel coordinator for many years.

Jim is survived by his special friend Jeannine Warkow of Winfield, Illinois. Additional survivors include two sons, Jeffrey Ward (Dr. Julie Bjoraker) of Dover, Minnesota and Dr. Robertson Ward (Diane)of Provo, Utah.  He is also survived by three grandchildren, Caryn Ward Lantz (Charles) of Burnsville, Minnesota, Brandon Ward (Cielle) of Parker, Colorado, and Shane Ward (Carly) of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and six great-grandchildren.  Jim is also survived by a much-loved extended family.

Jim was also preceded in death by his parents, one half-brother, and three half-sisters. 

Visitation will be January 31, 2020 from 4-8 pm at Leonard Memorial Home, 565 Duane Street, Glen Ellyn. A celebration of life will be held on February 1, 2020 at 10 am at First United Methodist Church, 424 Forest Avenue, Glen Ellyn. Interment will be at the Sheridan Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Medill School of Journalism, c/o Northwestern University, Alumni Relations and Development, 1201 Davis St, Evanston, Illinois 60208 or the Sheridan Historical Society Museum, 185 N. Robinson St., Sheridan, Illinois, 60551. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James R. Ward, please visit our floral store.


January 31, 2020

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Leonard Memorial Funeral Home & Cremations
565 Duane Street
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

Funeral Service
February 1, 2020

10:00 AM
First United Methodist Church
424 Forest Ave
Glen Ellyn, Illinois 60137

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