By: PAMELA SCOTT JOHNSON Staff Writer
April 14, 2013
Lafe Preston Ward, formerly of Williamson, passed into God’s hands on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, due to complications from cancer. He was surrounded by family and friends at Hospice Atlanta during his final days.
Born in 1925 in Williamson, he was the son of the late Eula M. Ward and Lafe Preston Ward.
Preceding him in death on June 2, 1997, was his beloved wife Dorothy Ayers Ward.
Mr. Ward also had lost two brothers, Wilbur Ward and Ogden Ward.
Mr. Ward was a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, served in the US Navy in the V-12 Program, and received his law degree from West Virginia University.
He served as Williamson City Attorney from 1953-1955, Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney from 1961-1971, Mingo County Board of Education 1960-1970, West Virginia State Senator from 1971-1983, served as Majority Leader of the Senate for eight years, and served on the Board of Directors of Matewan National Bank which merged into BB&T.
He was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Williamson and The Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Savannah. Always invested in education, he was instrumental in sponsoring Williamson’s local Branch College of Marshall University in Huntington. He worked tirelessly to improve his community’s water system, Route 52 linking Williamson to Delbarton, and, most importantly, he was instrumental in securing federal funding for the flood wall needed to protect Williamson after massive flooding in April 1977.
Mr. Ward is survived by his loving wife, Norma Brewin Ward of Savannah, Ga., his sister Garnet Oakes (husband Walter) of Mathews, N.C. and his brother Lindy Ward of Glen Allen, Va. Also surviving him are his five children, Cynthia Ward Brasher (husband Bruce and his daughter Alison), Winston-Salem, N.C., Leslie Ward Vancho (husband Vince), Trabuco Canyon, Ca., Donna Ward Toulme (husband Nill), Atlanta, Lafe Preston Ward, Jr., Atlanta, and David Townsend Ward, Ridgecrest, N.C., 13 grandchildren, Jeffrey Bennett and Laura Catherine Brasher, Michael Preston, Jeffrey Dustin “JD” and Bradley David Vancho, Matthew Allen, Natalie Ayers, Laura Elizabeth and John Victor Toulme, Nicholas Preston, Nathan Alexander and Katherine Elizabeth Ward, and Luke Ferguson Ward.Mr. Ward surrounded himself with additional love from his stepdaughter Kathleen Brewin Lewis (husband Jeff) and her two children, Benjamin Brewin Lewis and Rosemary Lee Lewis.
A memorial service will be held in Savannah on Saturday, April 20 at 2 p.m. at The Lutheran Church of the Ascension (reception to follow in the church’s social hall). Family and friends also will celebrate Mr. Ward’s life among his beloved mountains in Williamson at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, May 4 at 11 a.m. (reception to follow in the church’s social hall).
Remembrances may be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 411 Prichard Street, Williamson, WV 25661, The Lutheran Church of the Ascension, 6 East State Street, Savannah, GA 31401, and Hospice Atlanta, 1244 Park Vista Drive, NE, Atlanta, GA 30319.