John Kenyon Ward was born on the family farm in rural Custer County, Nebraska on July 1, 1927, to James A. and Ethel (Kenyon) Ward. The youngest of four children, along with Dean, Duane, and Idabelle, he graduated from Litchfield High School in 1944. After the death of his father due to a farm accident, he assumed management of the farm while his brothers were serving in the U.S. Navy. In 1946, he entered McPherson College, graduating in 1950. While attending McPherson College, he and his brother, Dean, owned custom wheat harvesting equipment and followed the wheat harvest for three summers. During the Korean War, John served as a cryptographic technician for the Korean Military Advisory Group.
John married Bonnie J. Martin in 1953. Three children were born to this union: Marty, Steve, and Anne.
John obtained a second B.S. degree from Kansas State University in 1954, followed by an M.S. degree from Oklahoma State University in 1956. From 1956 through 1968, he taught Agriculture at McPherson College and completed the PhD degree in ruminant nutrition at Kansas State University. In 1968, the family moved to Lincoln, NE where he taught and did beef cattle research in the Animal Sciences Department at the University of Nebraska. While at Nebraska, he traveled extensively as a beef cattle consultant in many foreign countries.
His many varied interests included photography, leather work, woodwork, writing, and a variety of volunteer activities including serving three terms in the Kansas Silver Haired Legislature. He was active in sports, participating or coaching in whatever sport was in season.
John loved the outdoors and considered service to others to be the highest calling.
John entered into eternal rest on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, at The Cedars Courts, McPherson. He was eighty-seven.
Survivors members of the family include: wife, Bonnie, of the home; a son, Marty Ward and wife, Carol, of Corpus Christi, TX along with grandsons, Jared and his wife, Christy and great-grandchildren, Micah and Eli, and Ryan and his wife, Shelby; son, Steve and wife, Dalene, of Lincoln, NE along with grandchildren, Josh and great-grandson, Noah, and Lindsey and her husband, Joey, and great-grandson, Peyton; and a daughter, Anne Tell of Golden, CO.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers, Dean and Duane Ward, and sister, Idabelle Parsons.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM, Tuesday, May 26, 2015, at McPherson Church of the Brethren with Rev. Chris Whitacre officiating. Inurnment will take place in McPherson Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to Heifer Project International or McPherson County Food Bank in care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 North Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460.