HOULTON - James F. Ward, Sr., 95, passed away peacefully April 19, 2016 surrounded by his family. Jim was born in Houlton on March 10, 1921, the son of Robert and Margaret (Crowe) Ward.
He was educated in Houlton schools and was graduated from the University of Maine, class of 1944. His college days were interrupted by World War II. He left the University in 1942 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Jim served his country proudly as a Naval Aviator, flying PBY Catalinas. He earned the rank of lieutenant and his duty stations included Pensacola, Florida and Corpus Christi, Texas. During his service he was a flight instructor at Pensacola and flew patrol convoy escort and air-sea rescue missions. Jim's role as a flight instructor developed his natural interest in learning, talent for teaching, respect for training, and commitment to excellence, skills that he employed and shared with others throughout his life. Following discharge from active duty in 1946, he completed his education at the University of Maine and earned a B.A. in Business Administration. Jim returned to Houlton and joined the First National Bank where he began his 35 year career in banking. Described as a "banker's banker," Jim assisted many local county people in pursuit of their personal and business ventures. A lifelong resident of Houlton, he was active in community affairs, serving on the Town Council, the board of directors of the Houlton Regional Hospital, St. Mary's Parish Council, and the Ricker College Endowment Fund Committee. Jim was also a member of the Houlton Lodge of Elks and the Houlton Community Golf Club. After retiring in 1983, Jim embarked on a 33 year adventure that included some travel, a healthy charge of hunting, fishing, and golf, and pursuit of numerous new activities that left him often wondering "how he ever had time to work." At the age of 75, Jim discovered the joy of painting, a hobby that he shared with many new friends. He was a prolific artist and got tremendous joy from creating paintings for other people. Jim had a life-long love of the outdoors and of comradery and enjoyed spending time at the camps at Drews Lake, Hay Lake, East Branch, B and the Skiticook Tea Room. He was playful, had a tremendous gift of looking at life through the lens of optimism and humor and knew the value of a good time.
Jim was predeceased by his loving wife of 63 years, Lois in 2012 and by his grandson, Jeff Ward in 2013. He is survived by his children, Bob and Paula Ward of Houlton, Jim and Debbie Ward of Bangor, and Catherine and Bill Ferdinand of Brunswick and by seven grandchildren, Megan and Andrew McPartland, Patrick and Lyndsi Ward, Kelly Ward, Anna Ferdinand, and Sarah Ferdinand. He is also survived by the "champions of his world," his four great grandchildren, Jocelyn and James Ward, and Lidia and Madilyn McPartland.
Friends may call from 10:00 - 11:30 AM Monday, April 25th at Saint Mary of the Visitation Church in Houlton where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:30 AM with Rev. David Raymond celebrant. Interment and celebration of life will be held St. Mary's Cemetery Houlton July 2, 2016. Donations in his memory may be made payable to the Cary Library or the Houlton High School Endowment Fund c/o Dunn Funeral Home 11 Park Street Houlton, 04730. Online condolences and guest book: dunnfuneral.com