Ward Stearns

Stearns, Ward Passed into God's Kingdom March 8, 2014 at Legacy House Hospice Center, Ocala, FL. Cherished husband of Jane, of Naperville; loving father of Priscilla (the late Jerry) Durkin of Naperville and Sarah (Brian) O'Keefe of Winfield. He was born in Aberdeen, SD to Leone (Christian) and Gilbert Stearns on March 16, 1930. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Scott. Ward graduated from Naperville High School, class of 1948, North Central College, class of 1956 with a B.S. degree. Served with the U.S. Air Force from 19511955. His first job out of college was as an Examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago 1956-1962. He went on to hold the following positions in the banking industry: President, Bank of Westmont (1962-1965); Vice President, Naperville National (1965-1970); President, Harris Bank Naperville 1970-1992 and President, Community Bankers Association 1977-1978. Founding Director of: Bank of Hinsdale; Bank of Lockport; Bank of Sugar Grove & First Security Banks of Oak Brook, Wood Dale and Fox Valley. His name is woven into the fabric of Naperville through his dedication to the community he loved so dearly and his life long volunteer involvement. He held leadership positions as President of The Rotary Club of Naperville (1986/87), director (1974-1976); president (1975) of Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, board member (1970-1976); Campaign Chair (1990/91) Naperville YMCA; United Way president (1972) and campaign chair (1990); board member Naperville Heritage Society; board member and president of CAN/DO; board member, community fund chair and life trustee North Central College, voted outstanding alumnus North Central College 1988; fund drive chairman for Naperville Humane Society (1987); chairman of Naperville Chapter of the American Cancer Society (1981); board member DuPage Council of the Boy Scouts of America receiving numerous awards and recognition for life long service, Distinguished Service Award Naperville Jaycees for Community Service (1983); founding committee member Naperville Riverwalk Commission and chairman (1993-1996); City of Naperville Financial Advisory Board. Ward's private passion was flying. He earned his private pilots' license in 1972 and subsequent instrument and commercial ratings under the tutelage of his long time friend and mentor Art Arnett. Ward, Art and John Neesley enjoyed many trips in their co-owned Beech Craft Bonanza flying to almost every state in the U.S. His most recent flying passion was participating in aerobatic competitions in his much loved Great Lakes and Super Decathlon aircraft. Visitation will be held Thursday, May 8, 2014 at Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 44 S. Mill Street, Naperville, IL from 4:00 until 8:00 p.m. with a memorial service on Friday, May 9, 2014, 10:00 a.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1310 Shepherd Drive, Naperville, IL. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1310 Shepherd Drive, Naperville, IL 60565 or The Boy Scouts of American, Three Fires Council, 415 N. Second Street, St. Charles, IL 60174 or North Central College, 30 N. Brainerd, Naperville, IL 60540.

Funeral Home

Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home
44 South Mill Street Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 355-0213

Published in Naperville Sun on May 4, 2014