Jonathan D. Ward

September 16, 1948 - June 30, 2020

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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 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


Tony Allen - Jul 16, 2020
The loss I feel, especially because of my own foolishness, is great but small in comparison to yours. I am sorry for your loss and wish you peace in the coming years.
James Carlson - Jul 8, 2020
My sincere condolences to Maureen Ward and family for the loss of their loved one.
Dick Lin - Jul 7, 2020
Our deepest sorrow is that we will not see Jon again in this life. His friendship over 50 years went beyond brotherly bonds. Maureen and family, you are in our prayers that God will comfort you and give you peace.
Chris Cushman - Jul 7, 2020
Jon and his family have been a wonderful part of my life for 50 years. I will miss Jon's warmth, charm, honesty, and wit. So many good times that I will treasure.
Chris Phillips - Jul 6, 2020
My condolences to the family. My sense of loss is great; I am sure yours is more. Jon was a friend who in the midst of revelry and laughter would issue a surprisingly blunt declaration of his love for you. The feeling was mutual!
David Bouve - Jul 6, 2020
Jon was one of my dearest friends over the course of 50 years. I miss him horribly already. I hope that knowing that he was loved by so many brings you solace.
Dion Smith - Jul 6, 2020
My deepest sympathies for the Ward family. I will remember Mr Ward for his acceptance, love of his family and quick wit.
Christopher Guy - Jul 6, 2020
My deepest condolences to your family and thank you for the wonderful tribute to Jon. It was an honour and a pleasure to know him. He was a truly good man with a wonderful sense of humour.
Lynn & Steve Bolin - Jul 5, 2020
Our sincere sympathy to Jon's wife, family and friends. Jon's friendly smile and wave will be missed. Sorry for your loss. Your neighbors, Lynn & Steve Bolin
Lew Faraclas - Jul 5, 2020
Peace be with you my brother!
Don Cavanaugh - Jul 5, 2020
Good memories of Jon a d his sense of humor at mackay years ago RIP
Audrey & Steve Hawley - Jul 5, 2020
We offer our condolences to you on the passing of your fine husband. From meeting you at the soccer field to our son’s friendship and escapades, to gathering at friends for food and conversation, we all benefitted from his wisdom and humor.
Jack J.L. Jones and Janet - Jul 5, 2020
Megan and Scott, After reading the obit I wish I could have meant your Dad, He ,must of been a very special person and I know he will be missed. You ate in our prayers and we will be thinking of you. Hugs from afar. Aunt Janet and Uncle J.L.
Howie & Sandy Brecher - Jul 5, 2020
So very sorry to learn of Jon's passing. We really enjoyed working with him and his friendship when we were in Cincinnati. Our most sincere condolences to the entire family.
Larry Holt - Jul 5, 2020
Maureen, I'm so sorry to hear about Jon. What a great guy. We shared many entrepreneurial stories after we left Michelman...not to mention beers. All the best to your family.
Tom Smith - Jul 5, 2020
Maureen, I am sorry to hear the news of John’s passing. He was as good a man as I have had the pleasure to work for. He was always teaching and mentoring with the goal to make you a better person. He touched many people and made each one better.
Judy and Walter Handy - Jul 4, 2020
Maureen, we can’t imagine what you and your entire family must be feeling right now. The sad phone call from Rachael came as a complete shock to us. We fondly remember Jon as soccer coach to our son, and later a Halloween reveler watching over your children as they went from door to door collecting goodies – always with an infectious smile on his face. More recently, Judy was always so happy whenever she’d run into Joh at Kroger. Mostly, we want you to know that we remain just a phone call away. Our heartfelt condolences.
John Tepe - Jul 4, 2020
Maureen, condolences on your loss. I have many fond memories of conversations (lots of debates actually) with Jon on quite a variety of topics while we consumed beer after a Buffaloes vs. Frogs matches 40+ years ago. He was a unique and quite interesting fellow.
Leo Kammerer - Jul 4, 2020
So sorry for your loss, Maureen. I played bridge with Jon for many years and always enjoyed his competitiveness and good game. He will be missed. Leo
Joyce Rivers - Jul 4, 2020
A beautiful tribute. My deepest condolences to all who loved and were loved by him.
JoAnn and Neil Rush - Jul 4, 2020
A beautiful tribute to an amazing man. Our deepest sympathy and prayers to this beautiful family. We are here if you need us.
Reggie Parker Burke - Jul 4, 2020
Maureen, I am so sorry to hear about your husband's passing. You and your family are in my prayers and thoughts during this trying time.
Tom and Lisa - Jul 4, 2020
Keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers .
Kathy Overbeck - Jul 4, 2020
So sorry for your loss. John was a great man.
Rob & Patty Fritz - Jul 4, 2020
We are so very sorry for your loss , Keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers ❤️🙏
Jane Volker Wenning - Jul 4, 2020
Maureen, My ❤️ goes out to you and your family.
Larry kovac - Jul 4, 2020
Jon will be missed by all.
Carol munninghoff - Jul 3, 2020
So sorry for your loss we are praying for you and your family.
Alison Burns - Jul 3, 2020
Much love to the Wards and Jon's friends. Jon was a dear friend of my parents, for which we are grateful. Many prayers, Peace and blessings.
John Hunt - Jul 3, 2020
Just told my brother Dave that Jon was one of the most positive people I ever met. Being Buffaloes together for many years, positivity was often in short supply! Dang!
Jeff Franco - Jul 3, 2020
Always had a smile on his face and one of my favorite people to see at Clovernook. I haven’t seen the Wards in a few years, but I know it would have been the same smile and friendly conversations any time I would have seen either of them. Mr. Ward will be missed. My condolences to Maureen and all his friends and family that will miss him too.