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Ward A. Lear

Lear, Ward Adrian October 2, 1920 - April 9, 2013 Ward Adrian Lear, age 92 years 6 months, died on April 9, 2013 of congestive heart failure at Holland Home-Fulton Manor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ward was born in Parke County Indiana to Herbert and Ione Lear and had a brother and sister. He graduated from Bridgeton Indiana High School, from Indiana State University with Bachelor's and Master's Degrees, and later received administrative certification. He served in the Navy as a radar man from 1943-1945. He married Ila Wolverton in December 1942; they raised four children in Antioch, Illinois. Ward taught business classes and coached in Lyndon, Illinois and in Antioch, Illinois. Active in local, state and national athletic organizations, he received many awards for years of service. Following Ila's death, Ward married Marilyn Olson and lived for 22 years in Baldwin, Wisconsin. As Athletic Director and teacher, Ward, was known as "Coach." He mentored, influenced, and touched the lives of so many students, coaches, and athletic directors - throughout his 38 years in education. Those who knew him, or heard him at a presentation, enjoyed his ever present sense of humor. He couldn't let a conversation get away without a joke that seemed customized and appropriate for just that occasion, creating smiles and laughter among people he worked with and socialized with. He never met anyone who didn't know someone he knew, and proudly wore his WW II cap everywhere, striking up conversations with countless passersby. His claim to fame was 62 consecutive years attending state basketball tournaments. Ward is survived by four children, John (Marina), Vicki Walker (John), Terry (Teresa), and David; eight grandchildren, Teresa Lear, Ryan and Casey Walker, Thomas and Taylor Lear, Crystal, Dannielle, and Kobe Lear; one great-grandson, Conrad Lear; wife, Marilyn; stepson, Brad (Darla) Olson; stepdaughter Jacqueline (Tom) Winquist; and five step-grandchildren, Isaac and Nathan Olson, Cole Christy, Alisandra and Aubrie Winquist; sister, Mary Anne Payne; and sister-in-law, Shirley Lear. Ward was preceded in death by wife, Ila; an infant son; brother, Richard Lear; and brother-in-law, George Payne. Memorial services are in Baldwin, Wisconsin on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 11 am at the First Reformed Church, with visitation 9 11 am; in Antioch, Illinois on Saturday, May 4 at 2 pm at Strang Funeral Home, visitation 11 am -2 pm, burial following the service. Instead of flowers, memorials are preferred.

Published in News Sun from Apr. 29 to May 5, 2013
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