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Rev. Dr. Robert Paul Ward

Rev. Dr. Robert Paul Ward, retired clergy of the former Detroit Conference, died  peacefully at the Chelsea Retirement Community on May 26, 2020 after a series of small strokes.  Dr. Ward was 92 years of age.  He received his Bachelor’s degree from Duke University (’49), was a graduate of the Yale Divinity School (’52) and received an honorary doctorate from Adrian College.  Dr. Ward was a native Detroiter who began his ministerial journey as a teenager alongside his lifelong friend Bishop John T. Walker who became Episcopal Bishop and Dean of the Washington Cathedral in DC.
 
Dr. Ward’s first appointment in the Detroit Conference was Westlawn where he met Joan Ward, his wife of 62 years, who predeceased him in 2016.  He served as senior pastor at the First United Methodist Churches of Troy, Marquette, Ypsilanti, Adrian and Flint Court Street.  From 1972-1978, he served on the cabinet as District Superintendent of the Ann Arbor District.  In 1979, he was appointed to Gross Pointe, followed by Birmingham First from where he retired in 1993.  During his time in Birmingham, Dr. Ward was nominated for Bishop at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference.
 
Dr. Ward served on the Board of Trustees of Chelsea Retirement Community and of Adrian College.  He was instrumental in securing funding for underprivileged students to attend Adrian on full scholarships. When the college opened the doors to its new admissions building, it bore the name “Ward Admissions House” in his honor.
 
He is survived by his daughters Wendy and Carolyn Ward who will remember him as a faithful servant of the church, devoted husband and loving father.  He was kind and generous to strangers, and when asked by waitresses “how are you doing today,” his most frequent reply was “Tremendous!”  In recent weeks, he told his daughters that he had lived a perfect life.  A life best described by a former colleague as the manifestation of grace, wisdom, humor, high standards, and pastoral care.
 
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a memorial service will be announced at a later date.
 
Condolences to his daughters can be sent to Carolyn Ward, 611 Ninth Street, Royal Oak, MI 48067.  They ask that in lieu of flowers that memorial contributions be made to Adrian College and Chelsea Retirement Community.