Surrounded by his family, Edward James Ward, age 74, died peacefully at his home on Sunday, October 13, 2019 after a long battle with cancer. Ed was preceded in death by son Brendan and brother Chuck. He is remembered by his wife Cathy, sons Patrick, Sean (Melissa) and Conor, daughters Caitlin (Jimmy) and Kelly, grand-daughter Moira, brother Jack (Margaret), sister Colleen Kennedy (Tom) and sister in law Cathy. He will be further remembered by his many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Ward served in the Peace Corp from 1967 to 1969, in the Malaria Abatement program in Thailand and served in the United States Army, during Vietnam, from 1970 to 1971; he was awarded a bronze star medal for his heroic service.
In 1967, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Marquette University of College Arts and Sciences and in 1976 earned his Juris Doctor degree from Marquette University Law School. Through his professional career he worked in politics and in financial services; he worked for the county government, state government and federal government, and as a wealth advisor for Morgan Stanley.
Ward’s involvement in the Greater Milwaukee community was extensive. He founded Milwaukee Irish Fest, the Milwaukee Irish Fest Foundation and the John J. Ward Irish Music Archives and was one of the founding members of the Irish folk band Blarney. He was a member of the Wauwatosa Rotary Club and the United Ethnic Festivals. He served on the board of directors for Catholic Financial Life, CelticMKE, St. Charles Youth and Family Services and Tosa Tonight, and as president for the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin.
Ward was a source of inspiration for Irish musicians, colleagues and friends around the world. He received various awards for his services to the community, including his A Person for Others award from Marquette University Alumnae; he also received awards for his commitments in promoting Irish culture in America, including Irelands’ Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad.
No amount of accolades can match the profound pride and love he had for his family. Ward was a loving husband, father, grand-father, brother, uncle, mentor and friend. Humble in nature, he was charismatic and thoughtful. Many will remember him for his infectious laugh and his zest for life that followed everywhere he went.
A visitation will be held at Becker Ritter Funeral Home (14075 W North Ave, Brookfield) on Thursday, October 17 from 4pm until 8 pm. A funeral Mass will be held at the Church of the Gesu (1145 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee) on Friday, October 18 at 10 am.
Donations are appreciated to the Tommy Makem Cultural Legacy Fund or to the Irish Fest Talent Development fund in care of CelticMKE.
To send flowers to Edward's family, please visit our floral section.