757.628.1000

Mayor William Edward Ward


Sunrise: December 1, 1933

Sunset: July 10, 2018

William Edward Ward, peacefully departed this life Tuesday, July 10, 2018.  Affectionately known as “Bill” to his many friends, colleagues, and family, was born on December 1, 1933 in Lunnenburg County to Annie Mae Ward and William Ward.  He also had a loving relationship with now deceased surrogate parents, Richard and Gladys Pettus in Keysville, VA.  Bill was a caring brother to Bernard “Joe” Ward and Samuel Ward.  He is predeceased by two brothers, Clarence James Ward and Frank Ward. Bill’s educational journey began as a young student at Bluestone Harmony Academy (private school) and later a graduate of Central High School (Charlotte County).  He went on to earn his B.A. degree in History in 1957 and M.A. degree in history in 1960 from Virginia State University.  He also earned both his M.A. and Ph.D.  degrees in American and African American History in 1972 and 1977 respectively from Clark University in Worcester, MA.  Further study included Hampton University, Carnegie Mellon University, The University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, University of Ghana, West Africa.

In 1959, Bill began his career as a history teacher at I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, Virginia.  Later, moving to the collegiate level, in 1969, Dr. Lyman Beecher Brooks offered Ward a teaching position at Norfolk State University where he served as a Professor and Chair of the History Department until his retirement in 2000. During his tenure at NSU, he served in many capacities.  He was an active member of the Faculty Senate and served as its President between 1975-77.  He served on the Faculty Senate of Virginia Benefits and Grievance Committee, the college-wide Council of Teacher Education.  For two decades, he served as the Chairman of the Martin Luther King Observance and African American History month chairman.  He was responsible for bringing to the campus the leading civil rights leaders of the 1970s and 1980s.

His professional affiliations included the Virginia Society for History Teachers, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, the Southern Historical Association and the Virginia Social Sciences Association. In addition, he was a 50 year member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., from Alpha Phi, Virginia State University and Sigma Pi Phi (Boule), one of the oldest African-American Greek-lettered organizations.

Bill Ward was an ordinary man who lived a fearless life with extraordinary opportunities.  He is survived by his devoted wife, Dr. Rose Marie Ward.  He also leaves to cherish his memory, his son, Michael R. Ward (Katia), his daughter, Dr. Michelle Ward Woodhouse (Terry), his granddaughter who he adored and cherished, Skylar Rose Woodhouse and many relatives and friends.

Family Receiving Friends Friday, July 13, 2018 7:00pm-9:00pm Chesapeake Conference Center 700 Conference Center Drive Chesapeake, VA 23320 Viewing Saturday, July 14, 2018 9:00am-11:00am Chesapeake Conference Center 700 Conference Center Drive Chesapeake, VA 23320 Service Saturday, July 14, 2018 11:00am Chesapeake Conference Center 700 Conference Center Drive Chesapeake, VA 23320

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Condolences(23)

  1. reply
    Sylvia Pickle says

    Sending my condolences and prayers to the family during this difficult time.

  2. reply
    Olivia W. Martin says

    To the family of Dr.William E. Ward,
    Please accept our sincere condolences in the loss of your loved one. Dr.Ward was not only a friend and instructor but a mentor to many students at Norfolk State. As a former Ms.Senior Virginia in 2001, Dr. Ward attended the affair and gave me a key to the city of Chesapeake.Our prayers are with the family.
    Olivia W. Martin, Ms. Senior Virginia 2001
    Dr. Beverly A. Cumbo

  3. reply
    Randy & Annette Biddle says

    My prayers goes out to the family. May God continue to bless you during this difficult time.

    • reply
      Antoinette Johnson and Emma Lou Johnson says

      May God’s promises comfort you and sustain you… may his steadfast love be your strength and your hope.
      Every word of God is pure; He is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Proverbs 30:5
      May you find comfort during this time as God strengthens your heart with caring thoughts and prayers, with love from Emma Lou and Antoinette Johnson

  4. reply
    Lamont Simmons says

    My deepest sympathy ges out to the family, friends, colleagues and neighbors on the passing of our beloved Mayor. He was a fine man and is sorely missed. I can see him now with his omnipresent legal pad.

  5. reply
    Gene and Cecelia Carter says

    Our heartfelt sympathy is extended to you and the children.
    Billy will be missed by friends and citizens alike.

  6. reply
    Delceno Miles says

    May God strengthen and comfort you during this time. Mayor Ward was a tireless servant leader who left a tremendous legacy throughout the region. He will be missed.

  7. reply
    Bishop Bernard Williams, D.D. says

    My Mentor and certainly a fearless and tireless leader to many, Dr. Ward leaves a rich and most admirable legacy. My payers and sincere condolences to is family and Chesapeake community.

  8. reply
    LaBarbara Cuffee says

    So sorry for your loss was a great man will surely be missed. Had the opportunity to entertain him at my home when Dr. Cuffee was alive he was a very nice person and easy to talk too. I thank him for the Dr. CVC Sholarship fund which he chaired and the opportunity to meet with him when choosing the applicants who would receive the scholarships. Praying for the family.

  9. reply
    Lesa and Sandy Smith says

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. I will truly miss his knowledge and his nice talks and his smile. ❤️🙏🏽

  10. reply
    Rick Watkins says

    Mayor William “Bill” Ward was a friend of mine, we first met, at Va.
    State University in the ’50’s as students, there. Bill’s devotion to
    the education of the “young” and years of public service to the
    Tidewater populace was indeed, second to none. I, for one, will certainly miss his wisdom, humility, kindness, and sense of humor.
    I offer sincere condolences to his dear wife, Rose, and family. Rick Watkins

  11. reply
    Shauna Cabarras-Barringer says

    My prayers to the Family of Mayor William Ward during this difficult time. Well done thy faithful servant.

  12. reply
    Solomon Addico says

    May God eternally bless the soul of the late Dr. Bill Ward and continue to comfort, strengthen and bless his family and loved ones.

    Solomon Addico

  13. reply
    Gela G says

    May you always know that you now have an Angel watching and guiding you forever Michelle, he will never leave your side infinitely. Mend your heart and meditate on this believe! Press on your dad is with you!

  14. reply
    Tyiesha Gainey Crafton says

    May Dr. William Ward rest in eternal peace. Prayers of confront during this time of moarning and continued blessings to Mr. Ward, Dr.Ward, Dr. Woodhouse, family and friends.
    Mrs. Crafton (Gainey)

  15. reply
    Pamela Chesson says

    To the entire Ward Family,
    Mayor Ward was a joy in the life of so many of us. He will always be remembered as Chesapeake’s Mayor! His love for his African American culture, and for people in general was more than honorable. What a blessing to all of you to have him as a family member. His mentorship to so many was second to none, and he will continue to be in the hearts of all he came across. We thank God for Mayor Ward, and the time He gave us with him. I now want to say thank you to his family for sharing him with us who loved him also! God Bless you, and may God bring you peace and comfort during this time.

  16. reply
    Eric Tucker says

    To Michael and family, we offer our condolences during this difficult time. I know what you are going through as I lost my father in January. Remember all of the good times and laughs you shared together and take comfort in knowing that he did his best on earth and is now with his Heavenly Father.

  17. reply
    Jerome A. Bynum says

    To the Ward Family,

    I offer my deepest condolences during a period of great loss. As a former student, Dr. Ward served as a great inspiration to me in my endeavors. During our times together, we would often tease each other with various jokes and odd comparisons. However, there was never a time that we did not discuss the issues that affected the lives of people, and the possible solutions to rectify those issues. Your loss is my loss along with the entire Hampton Roads community. I am blessed to have been a part of his life.”Well done thy good and faithful servant.”

  18. reply
    Estherine J. Harding says

    Extending heartfelt sympathy to the family of Dr. William E. Ward, former Mayor of Chesapeake and NSU Retiree. He was such an inspiration and did so very much for so many. May he rest in peace and his legacy of extraordinary works speak for him.
    May God bless and comfort you during this time of bereavement.

  19. reply
    Jessie Haynes says

    Dr. Ward was a trailblazer and he inspired so many of us, especially the Color Purple Gang, who worked in Chesapeake City government. He cared about the advancement and improvements of the city and truly loved the citizenry. A diplomat and scholar, he was a true leader who will be sorely missed.

  20. reply
    Vivian White and family says

    To the Ward family you all have our prayers that God will give you peace and strength at this difficult time.

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