James J. Ward, born in Detroit, Michigan, was welcomed into the arms of His Lord on Saturday, July 11, 2020, at the age of 86.
Jim’s family moved from Detroit to the Rogers Park neighborhood in Chicago in 1942. Jim attended St. Ignatius Grade School, Loyola Academy, and earned a degree in Accounting from Loyola University. He married Elizabeth Kennedy in 1956 and shortly thereafter entered the US Army Reserves, training at Fort Benning, Georgia. There they had their first child, before returning to Chicago where Jim received his law degree from Loyola University. He worked in tax law for several years at Allstate Insurance Company, all the while growing his family and eventually moving to Park Ridge, Illinois. He was an active member of St. Paul of the Cross Church and served as well on the school board. At the age of 35 Jim transitioned to work in real estate investments, a career shift for which he was forever grateful. He was successful in this field for many years. In the late 90s Jim retired, and was able to pursue more avidly his interests in travel, bread baking, golf, French language, and volunteer work, among many other activities. Jim met the love of his life, Kathleen Delaney, in 2004. They married in 2008 and have enjoyed a rich and delightful life together in Wilmette, Illinois, sharing a variety of travel adventures (with Florida and France in the lead) and time with their large extended families.
Jim – husband, father, brother, son, uncle, cousin, friend – was a force of nature. His laugh was infectious and his smile a bright light. He had a quick mind and even faster wit. Jim could be impatient with the world – but his urgency was fired by belief in what he knew was true, and a fervent wish to do right by himself and others. His values centered on education and life discipline. He worked doggedly to be able to generously support his children and other family members in pursuing their educational and other life goals. He showed up in times of need – for everything from financial questions to basic carpentry jobs, from job-seeking advice to cassoulet recipes. Often his help and love arrived in the form of a newspaper article, appearing in the mail at just the right time. Jim was also as curious about the world as he was sure of himself. That inquisitive nature led him to whittle a chess set, learn to make sourdough, hike the Grand Canyon, read about and discuss “the Buddha.” He readily shared his life lessons and insights. He couldn’t pass up a yard sale nor leave a family party without “taking some food off the host’s hands.” He rarely spoke about the people he helped behind the scenes; he practiced a quiet and dedicated prayer and spiritual life. Jim Ward so blessed the world he entered. With friends, family and many lucky strangers, he was truly “all in.”
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, James and Mary Ward, brother Geoffrey Ward, son Geoffrey Ward, and nephew Keith Waldron. He is survived by his wife Kathleen; his children Adrienne (John O’Connell), James, John (Peggy), Juliet, Mary (Malvene Collins-Ward), Elizabeth, and Daniel; 15 grandchildren; his brother Jerome (Kathleen) Ward, and sisters Alicia (Myron) Resnick, Mary (Michael) Maloney, Virginia (Gerry) Waldron, and Ellen Ward. He also leaves behind a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Funeral arrangements will be handled by John E. Maloney Funeral Home. A family-only funeral mass will be held Friday, July 17th, 2020, at St. Francis Xavier Church in Wilmette, IL, at 10 o’clock a.m. You Tube link for remote viewing: youtube.com (enter)saints_jfx
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