William Leon Ward, was born Aug. 7, 1942, in Green Forest, Ark., the son of James Wilburn and Chleo Geneva Hughes Ward. He died Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, in Tulsa, at the age of 74 years.
Leon was reared and educated in Harrison, Ark. and graduated with the Harrison High School Class of 1960. He continued his education at Arkansas State Teacher’s College, now the University of Central Arkansas, in Conway, Ark., where he also played baseball as a catcher. More importantly, he met the love of his life Beverly Ann Scott and was married June 24, 1962, in Harrison. He spent 14 years in management with Montgomery-Ward and 34 years with Walmart management. He went to Blackwell, in 1980, then to Ponca City, as the first Walmart manager in Store #823, before retiring in 2010. He was Boss of the Year at the Ponca City store in 1986, which was also named Store of the Year in 1987. He was also a member of the Ponca City Jaycees. In 2012, he and Bev celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. In 2015 they moved from Ponca City to Owasso to be near their family.
They were members of First Assembly of God in Owasso and have been active in Assembly of God churches all their married life. He played semi-pro baseball in Oklahoma and Arkansas for three years as well as fast pitch softball in Kansas. He coached little league pony league baseball, football and basketball. He worked in Boy Scouts as a leader and Scoutmaster. He started the first Royal Rangers group in Springdale, Ark. at First Assembly of God. He was named Man of the Year at that church and served in several churches as board member and Sunday School superintendent. He was also an avid fan of Oklahoma State University sports and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Loving family members include his wife, Bev; two sons and daughters-in-law, Kevin Ward and his wife Wendy, of Paragould, Ark. and Scott Ward and his wife Tonya, of Owasso; five grandchildren, Blake Ward, Madison Ward, Jared Ward, Stephanie Smith and her husband Ryan and Heather Ward; great-grandson, Mason Smith and a host of other relatives and friends.
A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 20, at First Assembly of God, 1329 West Stephenson Ave., Harrison, AR 72601. Arrangements and service was entrusted to Mowery Funeral Service of Owasso, www.moweryfs.com.