WEAVERVILLE, N.C. – William “Bill” Waldron Ward, age 92, of 36 Clearview Estates Drive, died Monday, Sept. 24, 2012.
He was the son of the late Lester Ward and Hallie Tinsley Ward. He was born Dec. 29, 1919, in Joliet, Carbon County, Mont., and raised on a large ranch. After graduating from high school he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1938. He received a commission in 1944 and became an engineering officer on three navy ships from 1945 until 1951, when he was assigned to the staff of Navy Captain, later Vice Admiral Hyman Rickover’s staff for 12 years, assigned to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission for the development of the nuclear propulsion equipment for the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarines and surface ships. In 1962 he then spent three years with United Technology developing the successful solid propellant, strap-on boosters for the U.S. Air Force Titan 3-C missile program for placing heavy payloads into outer space. Then in 1965 he returned to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission for 10 more years, working on the development of the sodium cooled fast breeder reactor program. In 1975 he was employed by the Litwin Engineers and Constructors in Houston, Texas as the “troubleshooter” for the president of that firm, retiring in 1985.
In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by his two brothers, Arthur and Glenn, both lost in World War II in the Pacific; and his sister, Mary David.
He first married Elizabeth Fannie Wilson in 1941; she died in 1968. He later married Lillian Marie Wright in 1974; she died in 2004.
During his life he had traveled to 70 countries and six continents. After his career he retired in 1985 and moved to Weaverville. He became a deacon in the First Baptist Church, Weaverville, and later transferred to the First Baptist Church, Asheville.
Surviving are his two daughters, Frances Ann Ward and Wanda Hallie Ward; two stepsons, Glenn Wright and Delmer Wright; seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
His funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, Sept. 28, in the Chapel of First Baptist Church, Asheville, with Rev. Dr. Guy Sayles and Rev. Leah Brown officiating. Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at West Funeral Home, 17 Merrimon Ave., Weaverville, and at the church one hour prior to the service.
Flowers are welcome or memorials may be made to First Baptist Church Asheville, 5 Oak St., Asheville, NC 28801.
For those who desire, condolences may be offered to the family under Mr. Ward’s obituary at www.WestFamilyFuneralServices.com.