December 16, 1954 - August 29, 2023
There will be a gathering to honor Johnny’s life on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., at the Elks Lodge #1187 in Rapid City, SD. Military honors will be held at a later date.
THE MAN, THE MARINE, THE HOLE IN ONE LEGEND, went to live with God on Tuesday, August 29th. He passed peacefully at home surrounded by family and fur babies.
I’m writing this as a letter because a traditional obituary cannot describe this special man.
Johnny Lloyd Ward was born December 16th in Minneapolis, MN to Phyllis (Lessin) and Lloyd Ward.
We met when his childhood was a memory but oh the stories I’ve heard…Summers at Cedar Lake with Gramma and Grampa Lessin. Maybe that was where his love for fishing started?
He attended grades K-12 in Sioux Falls. JW said he rarely dated but according to Julie, girls called all the time. What a stud!
The end of summer 1973 he reported to Marine Bootcamp where they “knocked you down to a pile of shit, then build you into a Marine”.
After discharge he went to work with his brother in the oil fields of Wyoming. Now those are some wild stories. What a bond those two had!
These past 3 years 8 months of glioblastoma would have taken the average man down. The diagnosis came the week of his 65th birthday and the same day as his retirement party.
Early in our marriage he would go on hunting trips with the guys, sometimes filling the freezer in lean times. My dad told me, “stay with him, he’s a good provider” Guess Dad knew what he was talking about.
Alas, he gave up guns for golf clubs. His passion grew with every year and every hole in one. Each exciting but the Big One was the $10,000 tournament he won. Yes, he bought a new golf cart but he also gave a large portion to the VA hospital Fort Meade. Once a Marine, always a Marine.
With Mayo’s cooperation and the help of a group of great guys he was able to go on the annual Florida golf trip this year! I’m thinking it was his Make A Wish come true. Thanks guys!
He touched many lives and was touched by many. He was a good husband and a great dad. Cody was his pride and joy even when forced to play Barbies.
He enjoyed spending time with our Bonus Grand Kids. A trip to
Johnny loved the Burke Littles as they grew from Hurricane Haley to a caring young lady. He had many special times with Jenson including egg hunting, rock painting and some intense conversations. “It’ a guy thing” Little Holland Grace held a special place in his heart dazzling him form the beginning. No matter how he felt he always found a smile when the doorbell rang for a visit from these Bonus Grands.
Surviving without Mr. Wonderful is me, Maren, his wife of 42 years.
Waiting for him at Heaven’s Gate…His loving mother Phyllis, father Lloyd and sister Jill. I can’t forget his “best dog”, Cosmo.
Until we join you Johnny, rest up because one day we will be together in celebration.
Love you and miss you deeply. WW
Memorial monies will go to Rockside Ranch and Fort Meade Veteran’s Hospital per Johnny’s request.
Please join us at the Elks Lodge #1187 to honor Johnny on September 20, 2023, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Military honors will be held at a later date.