James Patrick "Zack" Ward, 86, of Great Valley, NY, died Sunday (November 3, 2013) in Olean General Hospital after a short illness.
Born March 14, 1927, in Salamanca, he was the son of John and Martha Ward.
Mr. Ward attended Ellicottville High School, graduating with the Class of 1945. Following military service, he attended St. Bonaventure University and graduated in 1952 with a bachelor of science degree. Additionally, he completed two master's degrees in the field of education at Fredonia State College.
He was a veteran of World War II having served in the U. S. Army with occupation forces in Europe. While serving, he was selected to attend the Nuremberg War Trials where he witnessed the military tribunals of Germany's war criminals.
James started his teaching career in Allentown, NY in 1952, where he taught all 7-12 social studies. He went from there the following year to Brocton Central School and taught social studies and English until his retirement in 1984. He then returned home to Great Valley and lived with his late sister Elizabeth on the family farm.
He was a lifelong member of the Holy Name of Mary Roman Catholic Church, in Ellicottville and a former Eucharistic Minister. James was also a Charter Member of the Great Valley Volunteer Fire Company, which was founded in 1949, as well as a former member of the Salamanca Ancient Order of Hibernians. He was an active member of the Salamanca American Legion Hughes Skiba Post #535 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars John Ahrens Post #5296 in Salamanca.
During his 31 years in Brocton, Mr. Ward was very active in the community youth programs where he served for "many years" as treasurer. He was also greatly involved with the school where he served as an advisor, clock operator, curriculum specialist and many other school related functions.
He was predeceased by a sister, Elizabeth and two brothers, John and Joseph.
Surviving are six nephews and nieces: Mark (Barbara) Ward and Stephen (Bridget) Ward of Great Valley; Daniel Ward, Amherst; Maureen (Bill) O'Donnell of Buffalo; Dennis (Michele) Ward of Kenmore; and Martha Ward of Amherst; and a sister-in-law Virginia Ward of Great Valley.
Friends may call Wednesday, Nov. 6, from 4:00-8:00 PM at the O'Rourke and O'Rourke Funeral Home, 25 River Street, Salamanca. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday morning, Nov. 7, 2013 at 11:00 AM in Holy Name of Mary Roman Catholic Church with the Rev. Ronald Mierzwa, pastor, as celebrant. Burial will be in the Holy Cross Cemetery, Ellicottville.
Full military honors will be conducted by members of the American Legion Post 535 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars John Ahrens Post 5296
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Holy Name of Mary Roman Catholic Church, Ellicottville, N.Y.
E-condolences may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to facebook.com/onofh