John Ward

John WardTuesday morning. August 31, 2021 John Ward, after he made sure he was all spit and polished, hair in place, cleanly shaved with a splash of men’s cologne, decided, after 93 year, to depart this earthy realm and explore the unknown of eternity.

John Ward came to Ridgecrest in the early 1950’s a young WWII vet, A recently graduated from San Bernardino Valley College as a draftsman. Later he attended California Polytechnic San Louis Obispo earning a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

He enjoyed the work, the people and living where the sun shined year-round. So, he decided to make it his new home town. John settled in; advanced in his career at NAWS, met and married Bobby, (d. 2008) a girl from his former hometown. They bought a house, made lifelong friends, and became an active supportive part of the Ridgecrest community. After his first wife died, he married Judith Palmer and spent the remainder of his life in joyful bliss.

John worked at China lake as a registered engineer and distinguished himself professionally with this work for NOTS, NWC, and NA CWC, he retired after 34 years in civil service then worked for Comarco for several years. As well working for the government he represented the Navy on the steering committee for the American Defense and Preparedness association and renowned as a national leader in the field of ammunition for 20MM and served as a secretary for the joint technical coordinating group working party for guns and ammunition. John did not believe in owning a personal gun but he was proud of his teams development of a 20 millimeter bullet which is still being used in some military aircraft today. As John said, “It is a going home weapon used to protect the soldiers after they drop their bombs and are being chased home.”

Although he did not consider himself a “mover and a shaker” John’s public spirit was shown through his willingness to assume the responsibilities of leadership in organizations like the Ridgecrest/China Lake Optimist Club . It was through the Optimist Club that John, working with other service organizations, coordinated and served as the Master of Ceremonies for the first sixteen years of the Ridgecrest community’s Annual Respect for Law dinner. In 2009 he was honored by its being renamed the John S Ward Respect for Law dinner.

In addition, John’s service to the community included working with Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, Homemakers of the Indian Wells, Valley Desert Art League, and the Kern County Environmental Impact Committee. Every Thursday, for many years, you could visit with him as he maned the Visitors Information Center desk at City Hall.

He was a charter member of Ridgecrest Presbyterian Church and was the last surviving founding member of the church. He gave generously of his time and talents to church. He served as receiving treasure for nearly three decades. Spending long Sunday afternoons on reconciling accounts. Other service included being on the pastor nominating committee, chair of the Christian education and finance committees and he had served as an usher and volunteered his time to paint, move chairs make church repairs and greet people. It was always a good to come to church and be greeted with a big smile, shaking hands or giving a person a needed hug. Greeting people as an old friend not strangers. As John would say “the church is the people.” You couldn’t get him into a discussion about theology. It was irrelevant to him. “Everyone is different” he would respond if asked, for he was open to all people. Open and welcoming which made one feel accepted and not judged.

John was proceed in death by his parents Walter and Grace Ward, wife Roberta. He is survived by his loving wife Judith, and her children; Margo, Bartholomew and Carroll; his sister Elizabeth Woodworth and her family; Grant, Glenn and Susan Woodworth; as well as sister and brother-in-law Jacqueline and Frank Ferro and David and Marjorie Palmer.

We would also like to thank the angels from RRH Personal Care Services who helped John with his journey.

His viewing will be in his beloved home at 246 Mesquite Ave. Saturday through Tuesday 12 noon – 6 pm each day.

Memorial service will be held September 8th at 12:30 at Ridgecrest Presbyterian Church, 633 W. Las Flores Avenue.

Story First Published: 2021-09-03