Lois Arlene Ward, age 87, of Durand, WI died Sunday, December 13 at her home in
Durand surrounded by her family that she loved so very dearly.
Lois was born on January 23, 1933 on the family farm in Owen Valley, North Branch in
Canton Township. Her birth coincided with a historic spring flood which left the
attending physician stuck and stranded along the side of the road. By chance, a large
truck came along and drove him all of the way to Owen Valley where he arrived in time
to deliver her into a world in which she would be well loved.
The daughter of Earl and Idell (Gifford) Owen, Lois grew up in the Owen Valley along
with her brother, Don, within a tight knit family including her Grandparents, Aunts,
Uncles and Cousins, whom she considered to be her best friends, even until the time of
As a child, Lois was very active in 4H where her skills earned her many awards
including being a Jr. Officer, trips to the WI State Fair and the honor of serving as the
Buffalo County 4H Queen.
She attended grade school in North Branch, Nelson High School through grade 11 and
graduated from Durand High School in 1951. She was a Cheerleader for three years
and was honored as Prom Queen her junior year-wearing a dress she sewed herself
with the help of her mother. She also attended UW Stout in Menomonie for one and
one half years and participated as a Cheerleader there as well.
She was married to Joseph E. (Jay) Ward on August 1, 1953 at the United Methodist
Church in Durand. As an Air Force bride, she and Jay lived in Lancaster CA while he
was stationed at Edwards AFB. Their sons, Steven and David were born there. While
Jay was stationed in Korea during the war, she returned to the Ward family farm in
Durand. Upon Jay’s return from Korea the young family lived in Oklahoma City and
Chicago. Upon his discharge they returned to Durand, where daughters Susan and
Nancy were born.
In addition to working on the family farm, Lois drove school bus for the Durand school
district for twenty years.
She remained an active and devoted member to the Durand United Methodist Church
her entire life. She taught Sunday and Bible School, served as a member of the United
Methodist Women including a year as their President and also served as a church
She and Jay enjoyed square dancing, bowling, playing Pfeiffer with their friends in their
“Card Club” and attending sporting events. Lois and Jay owned and operated the
Redwood Motel in Washburn, WI from 1985 until 1997. Upon the sale of the motel they
returned to Durand to enjoy their retirement. Jay passed away in 2009.
In her later years she found pleasure with her friends, especially enjoying coffee at
McDonald’s with the “Bus Ladies”.
The greatest joy in Lois’ life was her family. She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother
and Great Grandmother. A visit to her home included being treated to freshly baked
cookies, endless games of King’s Corners and conversations filled with both wisdom
and laughter. Lois treasured her role as Auntie to her much loved Nieces and Nephews.
She will be remembered by her family for her loving and kind soul, her integrity, her
loyalty and her generous and compassionate heart.
Lois was preceded in death by her parents Earl and Idell Owen, her parents in law John
and Juanita Ward, her husband Jay Ward, her grandson Scott Gaulrapp and her brother
and sister in law, Don and Patricia Owen.
She is survived by her sister in law Lorena Ward, her four children: Steven (Susan)
Ward of Durand, David of Chippewa Falls, Susan (Terry) Gaulrapp formerly of Altoona
and Nancy (Gary) Hirt of Custer, SD. Her grandchildren: Cory (Katie) Ward, Carrie
(Tyler) Hansen, Chris (Amy) Ward, Diane Wilken, Paula Ward, Jayson (Jessica) Ward,
Ty Ward, Tony Gaulrapp, Billie (Aaron) Perkins, Brianna (Melesiu) Hirt and May Hirt.
Her great grandchilden: Carter, Carley and Ellie Rose Ward, Allisa, Kaelyn and Rylie
Hansen, Emily and Brooklynn Ward, Owen Wilken, Jayda and Jordyn Ward, Aiden and
Pippa Gaulrapp, Chastity, Sydney and Addison Perkins. Her beloved companion in her
later years, her kitty, Mr. Mittens.
Her family extends their heartfelt gratitude to Jane Poeschel for the extraordinary care
and grace she shared while caring for their Mother and to Mary Schwartz for her
assistance and companionship that she showed to their Mother.
In lieu of flowers memorial are preferred to the Durand United Methodist Church or to
the Durand Swimming Pool Fund.
There was a private interment on December 21, 2020 at Forest Hill Cemetery
A Celebration of Life will be held in her honor on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at
11:00 o’clock a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Durand. Pastor Grace
Baldridge will be presiding over the service.
The family will be receiving visitors beginning at 10:00 o’clock a.m. in the
church sanctuary. A luncheon will be served by the United Methodist Women
following the service in the church Fellowship Hall.
It is requested that all planning to attend please wear a mask and follow social
distancing guidelines. Please refrain from attending if you have a known Covid
19 exposure of if you are feeling unwell. The family appreciates your
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