September 16, 1948 - June 30, 2020
Jonathan D. Ward
September 16th, 1948 - June 30th, 2020
It was not like Jon to have a traditional obituary. Fitting with his love of adventure and spy novels, his life included surviving being hit by a moving train and having a semi truck fall on top of his car on the New Jersey Turnpike. In spite of the adventure theme, the reality is that Jon’s life was a love story: a love of his family, his friends, the UC bearcats, and most importantly his wife Maureen.
Jon was born September 16th, 1948 in Richland, WA to the late Dr. Raymond and Kathryn Ward. He was the third of four children - Randy (deceased), Alice Kay, and Carol, and constantly kept them entertained with the antics of his imaginary friend, Freaky. Jon’s siblings would race home after school to hear of Freaky’s latest exploits. Thus began Jon’s lifelong gift of entertaining and making people laugh.
His passion for life included good food and drink, which began as a high schooler eating tunnel sandwiches at Cavallo’s in New Hartford, NY, and evolved into a mastery of finding ways to include Italian sausage into any possible dish. He eventually left New Hartford, first as an exchange student in Chile, then as a freshman at American University in Washington DC, where he expanded his network of friends, his love of learning, and affinity for dive bars.
Following graduation from American (1970) and earning his MBA from William & Mary (1973), he accepted a job at P&G, bringing him to Cincinnati, which would become his home. Prior to moving, he asked P&G to hold his offer so he could take a months-long camping trip across Canada with some of his best friends. It was a monumental summer in his life, generating adventures that became stories that he shared with his children for years to come. Thankfully P&G agreed to his request, as the move to Cincinnati began what would become his most cherished legacy.
After arriving in Cincinnati and quickly adopting the local sports teams, especially the UC bearcats, his connection to the city was cemented while grabbing a drink with a co-worker. In typical fashion, he bought a round of drinks for his co-workers and was aghast when one of the women in the group denied his offer because she did not like beer. Perhaps to his surprise, he fell for this woman anyway and, after her friends assured her he was actually taller than her (Jon was 6’1”, Maureen 5’6”), she fell for him too. Maureen swears Jon saved her, and Jon swore he got his strength from Maureen. They said I love you every night for almost fifty years.
In his professional career, Jon was seen as a leader, a mentor, and a calculated risk taker. He saw potential in people before they recognized it and treated everyone as though they were the CEO of his largest clients. He earned the respect of coworkers and business leaders alike by his thoughtful and patient approach to every situation. After years of working for others, his entrepreneurial spirit led him to his dream job, as owner of JDW Enterprises. Here he not only cemented his lifelong goal to make sure his family always had a safety net, but finally had the freedom to work on perfecting his ever-evolving golf game at Clovernook Country Club. He was always just one adjustment away from mastering his swing.
Jon was a loyally fierce friend and protector to many, especially Maureen and his children, Jeffrey (Bethany) Ward; Rachel (Tony) Huber; Megan (Scott) Jones; and Michael (Ashley) Ward, in addition to his grandchildren, Sam & Max Ward; Dana, Mia, and Brenna Huber; Elliott, Nolan, and Kathryn Jones; and Caleb Ward. They are all broken and are not sure how they will go on without his guidance, his strength, his hugs, or his laugh. He will always be their favorite coach, cheerleader, problem solver, and so much more. He is also survived, and greatly missed, by his sisters and nephews, Maureen’s extended family, and many friends. They will all do their best to continue his legacy of always showing up to early morning sporting events for his grandkids, bear hugs, letting refs know when they have made a bad call, and solving crossword puzzles.
The reality is Jon loved with everything he had. He loved his wife Maureen so much that, when asked what he loved most about their recent travels as they checked off places on Maureen’s bucket list, his response was simple - seeing Mar enjoy the sites so much. His love for his children was so strong, it extended to their friends and neighbors who often thought of him as their bonus dad. Jon’s bucket-list was checked off every day he got to love his wife, every chance he had to see his grandkids, every time he solved his kids’ problems, with every crossword puzzle he stole and solved, every laugh or debate with friends, every neighbor who stopped by, and every breath he took, Jon Ward loved. And he was loved back, so so very much.
To honor Jon, in lieu of flowers, please consider supporting the community that loved him as much as he loved it. Donations can be sent to The College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Committee, an organization in which Jon was actively involved. Their mission of developing, improving, and enhancing the neighborhood is something Jon supported with every drink at Marty’s or Brink, every round at Clovernook, every laugh with a neighbor, and every kid he coached. Donations can be made at www.chcurc.com/donate or by mail to 1551 Marlowe Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45224. Due to Covid-19, we will be holding a private ceremony for family only, but plan to have an epic celebration for Jon in due time. To honor his family, please wear a mask so they can sooner be able to give you a hug like Jon would have the next time they see you.
Condolences at hodappfuneralhome.com