His appreciation for both structures and the outdoors, led the late Roy Milton Ward to pursue a career in engineering.
“School was not easy for him. He did not like school but he knew he had to study and just do it He just worked hard,” said his wife Pati of 58-years.
The two met while attending Shasta College in Redding, CA. Ward had just come home from serving as a draftsman in the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict from 1950-1953. There they had their first child, Ray, in 1956 and soon after, Ward moved the family to Fresno.
“Then we went to Fresno State 57-59 and our daughter Keary was born in Fresno in 1959 and then Kelly was born in Redding in 1960,” Pati said.
Ward’s commitment to his family and life itself never wavered. He passed away on June 13, 2014 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Excerpts from his obituary published in the Sacramento Bee read, “He was the greatest dad ever … Pops coached his daughter’s softball team and led them to a championship victory. He was proud! … He was the support and driving force behind six Eagle Scouts … He could tell mean good ghost story, (it floats), throw a ringer horseshoe in a pinch, bowl a 277, or golf anywhere.”
Ward’s passion for the outdoors took him hiking and camping throughout the western states and with a young family, his expert hunting and fishing skills were put to good use.
“It was meat on our table for the first few years of marriage. Roy would go hunting and get a deer, then we would cut it up and freeze it and that was our food,” Pati explained. “The kids wanted that instead of beef. So venison was our main stay for many years and the fishing.”
Born in 1929, Ward was raised by a single mother who spent her days cooking for school children and logging camps in Oregon area.
“It wasn’t easy. She raised her boys on her own and then eventually remarried,” Pati said.
Ward didn’t have much as a child, but Pati believes that’s what made him such a great person.
“There’s stress and strain … but when you grow up you look back at and say “I” beat the odds there – it makes it all worthwhile.”
And, Ward did beat the odds. He received Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Fresno State in 1959 and moved the family back to Redding.
He later became a professional registered engineer and established his career as a Safety Engineer where he managed the Loss Control Department for the Fireman’s Fund in Sacramento.
Ward was a dedicated employee with the Fireman’s Fund for more than 30-years and as his obituary read, “He was special to so many of his employees.”
As a manager, he provided guidance and mentorship and was well-respected amongst his peers. He was retired for more than 20-years and from the day Ward graduated from engineering school to today – engineering advancements and opportunities in science, transportation, technology, machine and structural design and beyond continue to increase.
“Engineering at the time when he graduated in 59′ was no big deal.”
It’s because of engineers like Ward that students and today’s engineering professionals have the confidence to move forward and impact the world in ways many may deem impossible. His curiosity and resourcefulness would have certainly gone far in the world as we know it today.
“He would be flabbergasted as to how engineering has grown,” Pati said.
In celebration of his life, Pati established the Roy Milton Ward Memorial Scholarship in the name of her late husband. Beginning in the fall of 2018, Fresno State’s Lyles College of Engineering will award two scholarships in honor of Ward of approximately $1,250 each to financially deserving students majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Fresno State.
“I know he would enjoy being able to help somebody else get their education and he would be so proud,” Pati said.
Roy Milton Ward’s loving son Ray Spencer Ward preceded him in death on Memorial Day [May 29, 2014]. He is survived, remembered, and loved deeply by his wife Pati, daughters Keary Fernald (Greg) and Kelly Ward; grandchildren Jake Reynolds, Emily and Darek Ward; step-grandchildren Shannon Morton, Aubrey and Matt Fernald.
The application criteria for the Roy Milton Ward Memorial Scholarship includes:
- Must be a returning Fresno State Mechanical Engineering Student in good-standing
- Must show financial need
- Must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.50 (on a 4-point scale, or equivalent)
Applications for the Roy Milton Ward Memorial Scholarship will be announced in 2018.
For more information on how you can establish a scholarship fund or provide support to students attending Lyles College of Engineering, contact Steve Weakland, Director of Development at 559.278.1755 or email at email@example.com.
RIGHT: As a draftsman in the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict, Ward prepared art, technical illustrations and graphics for briefings, training aids and publications. After he completed his time in the service, he continued to express his love for the outdoors and sense of humor through his drawings. One of his famous and copyrighted drawings was the Gooney Bird, which were used at the construction school his son-in-law established.
Ward also won first place at the Shasta District Fair in Anderson, CA for his artwork. He drew India ink deer, geese, and big horn sheep. With the help of a postman who enjoyed Ward’s artwork, 30 of Ward’s drawings were displayed in one of the Sacramento post offices.