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JOHN WARD Obituary
May 27, 1948 - December 4, 2012 OKLAHOMA CITY John Henry Ward, age 64, passed away on Tuesday, December 4, 2012, after a brave battle with GIST, a rare form of cancer. John will be remembered by some as an All-American athlete and first round draft pick in the National Football League, but to those who knew him best, he will be remembered for his spirited, kind heart, intellectual mind and calm and gentle manner. John was a much-loved man who treasured his wife, family, friends and dogs. He was also an extraordinary athlete and avid hunter and fisherman, with a gift for working with his hands. John was born in Enid, Oklahoma on May 27, 1948. His family later relocated to Tulsa where he became involved in the Boys Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle Scout, and athletics. John graduated from Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, where he wrestled and played football, basketball, and baseball. In 1966, John was named as an All-State in football and was an undefeated heavyweight State Champion in wrestling. John attended Oklahoma State University on a football scholarship, where he continued to wrestle. In 1969, he was named a College Football All-American (consensus selections) and an All-American in wrestling after finishing third in the NCAA tournament.In 1970, John was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the NFL draft as a lineman. He played for the Vikings from 1970 to 1976, during which time he played in two Super Bowls. He subsequently played for the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Following John's professional football career, he graduated from Northeastern State University with a Bachelor's degree and spent most of his career dedicated to public service. For thirteen years, John served as the Executive Director of the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma (ACCO), during which time he was duly named "Mr. County Government." In this role, John spent countless hours working with dedicated elected officials to pass laws and enhance association programs available to such officials. For the past decade until the time of his death, John served as Executive Vice President of the Poultry Federation of Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, managing the Oklahoma office. John often said he was a fortunate man to have lived such a blessed life. There are no words to describe how terribly much John will be missed. He is survived by the love of his life, his wife Gayle, his children of the home, Kyler Dawson and Kassi Dawson, his sons, John Henry Ward II (Grove) and Tom Ward (Edmond), daughter, Allie Wood (Oklahoma City), daughter-in-law, Miranda Ward (Grove), son-in-law, Randy Wood (Oklahoma City), step-son, Joey Dawson and his wife Shannon (Hobart), step-daughter, Kristie Ganaway and her husband Mark (Hobart), mother-in-law, Granny Marie Winsett (Hobart), sister-in-law, Shirley Fueglein and her husband Steve (Pampa, TX), brothers-in-law, Dennis Winsett (Oklahoma City), Jimmy Winsett (Pampa) and David Martin (Tulsa), grandchildren, Gweneth and Locklyn Ward (Grove) and Laramie Ward, Kacie and Lane Wood (Oklahoma City), and his many nieces, nephews and friends. He is preceded in death by his mother Velma, father Leon, brother Leon II and sister Margaret. Family and friends are invited to LifeChurch, 4600 East 2nd Street, Edmond, Oklahoma (I-35 and Hwy 66) on Friday, December 7, 2012, at 1:30 p.m. for a memorial service. A reception will follow at the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma, 429 N.E. 50th Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In lieu of flowers, John's family requests that donations be made in his memory to the GIST Cancer Research Fund online at http: www.gistinfo.org/donate or by mail to: GIST Cancer Research Fund, 55 Sawmill Road, New City, NY 10956. www.gistinfo.org/donate
Published in The Oklahoman from Dec. 6 to Dec. 7, 2012
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