Ronald Lee Ward
FREDERICKTWON – Ronald Lee Ward, 80, died Wednesday, May 3, 2023, at his family farm in Fredericktown. He was born August 8, 1942, in Fredericktown, the son of Melbourne R. and Lillian E. (Lamb) Ward.
Ronald was preceded in death by his parents; and brothers-in-law Perry Kegley, John King, Stephen King, and Larry Korokis.
Ron is survived by his wife Janet (King) Ward, whom he married January 5, 1964, at New Providence Church in Fredericktown. They shared more than 59 years of marriage together. He is also survived by their children, Julie (Dereck) Buford and Rhonda (David) White both of Fredericktown, and Janell (Travis) Rehkop of Farmington; grandsons, Dawson Buford, Josiah White, Nathanael White, Carson Buford, and Gabriel White, all of Fredericktown; sister, Carolyn Kegley, and her daughter, Kathy (Tony) Walker, of Fredericktown; sister-in-law, Audrey Korokis; brothers-in-law, Bill (Sharon) Kin, and Ray (Stephanie) King; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Ron graduated from Fredericktown High School in 1960. He worked for St. Joe Lead as a surveyor and then attended Southeast Missouri State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education for biology and general science in 1968. While attending college, he also joined the Army National Guard, and was enlisted from October 1965 to October 1971. He earned a master’s degree in educational administration and counseling at Southeast in 1972, and a specialist degree in 1974.
He began his educational career in 1968 in the Fredericktown R-1 School District, where he taught high school biology for 29 years. He also served as the principal and biology teacher of the ninth grade center from fall 1971 to spring 1975 while the new wing was added on to the current high school. He drove a school bus for 26 years and taught GED classes for more than 20 years. He was also a member and supporter of the Missouri Retired Teachers Association.
Ronnie spent many hours in the fields with his beloved cattle. While caring for them, he was frequently seen in his white t-shirt and flannel riding on his tractor or four-wheeler. He could also be found anywhere in town in his iconic blue truck or chatting with former students and friends.
He never met a stranger, and if he encountered someone he didn’t know, he quickly developed a friendship, beginning with asking where they attended school or if they had seen any deer lately. He loved people and found a way to make connections with everyone he met.
Ronnie attended New Providence United Baptist Church in Fredericktown.
One of his favorite hobbies was deer hunting, which he enjoyed for more than 60 years. During his teaching career, he helped a large portion of Madison County appreciate this hobby by incorporating the hunter safety course into his biology class.
Ronnie also enjoyed sports of all kinds and was an avid Cardinals fan. He followed the stats of all the local players and sports teams, and was a loyal Blackcats supporter. He was proud of his grandsons, and supported their activities as much as possible.
Visitation will be held at 5 p.m., Friday, May 12, 2023, at Follis & Sons Funeral Home. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 13, 2023, at Follis & Sons with Dereck Buford and David White officiating. Visitation prior to the service will start at 9 a.m., May 13. Pallbearers will be Travis Rehkop, Tony Walker, Dawson Buford, Josiah White, Nathanael White, Carson Buford, and Gabriel White.
Ronald was a pillar of the Fredericktown community and will be missed by all who knew him.