Lemley Chapel
Serving Sedro-Woolley &
All of Skagit County Since 1935
1008 Third Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA
John H. Ward Memorial
John H. Ward Memorial

John H. Ward

John H. Ward

Friday, April 26th, 2019

John Homer Ward, a lifetime Sedro-Woolley resident, died Friday April 26, 2019 at Whatcom Hospice House in Bellingham, Washington. He was 90 years old.

Born on March 30, 1929 in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, the son of Arthur and Lois (McKee) Ward, John attended school in Sedro-Woolley, graduating with honors as salutatorian in the class of 1947. He then attended Stanford University graduating with a BA in Political Science in 1951.  While there he was elected President of his fraternity, Theta Xi, in his senior year. It was also while attending Stanford that John met his future wife, Alice Johnson, whom he married in June of 1952 upon her graduation. Following their marriage, they moved to Seattle where John completed Law School at the University of Washington, receiving his LLB degree in 1954.

John served in the Army from 1954-1956, serving on the staff of the Judge Advocates office in La Rochelle, France.  Upon discharge from the Army, John and Alice moved to Sedro-Woolley, Washington, where he joined Condon V. Barclay as a practicing attorney.

In addition to practicing law, John was active in the legal community as a member and president of the County Bar Association.  He served the State Bar on the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee and for two years the State Judicial Council which proposed and assisted in the drafting of legislation.  John was the Sedro Woolley City Attorney from 1962 -1976, and also on the Civil Service Commission for 35 years.  Over the years he provided help and insight to numerous new lawyers. In recognition of his contribution to the legal community, he was the first recipient of the Huge Ridgeway Professionalism Award in 2002.

John was an enthusiastic and committed member and past president of the Sedro-Woolley Rotary Club.  In December of 2018 he was recognized and celebrated for his 50 years of service.  He served as the club historian, in addition to participating in the development of Riverfront Park and Hammer Heritage Square.

Following Alice’s death in 1998, John married Joyce Hansen Goss in 2001. While married to Joyce, John enjoyed traveling in the winter to Green Valley, AZ and spending time in a condominium they owned there.  She passed away in 2004.

John was an avid sportsman including tennis, golf, basketball, and bird hunting. He enjoyed watching and cheering on his favorite football teams.  His favorite sport was fishing, especially fishing for salmon at the family cabin on Orcas Island that he helped his father build in 1944-45 and for steelhead on the Skagit River. His dog standing up on the bow of his boat as he motored upstream made him easily recognizable by other fisherman.

John had a soft spot for animals, owning innumerable dogs and cats throughout his life.  He had a particular weakness for animals in need.  Horses (and once donkeys) rescued by the Skagit Humane Society found a safe haven when they were placed with John in the fields surrounding his home outside Sedro-Woolley.

John is survived by his three children; Nancy (Tom) Kenney, Jeanne (Ron) Earnest, and Jefferson (Tracy) Ward; his sister, Barbara Ward Thompson; his grandchildren, Anna (Aaron) Oldre, John Earnest, Clayton Ward, and Cheyenne Ward; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wives Alice and Joyce, his son Eric, and special friend Carol Mayer.

A Life Celebration Service will be held on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 12 Noon at Lemley Chapel in Sedro-Woolley.  A time of fellowship will follow at the Country Meadow Village on Collins Road in Sedro-Woolley.  Memorials in honor of John are suggested to the Sedro-Woolley Alumni & Schools Foundation, Hospice of the Northwest Foundation, or to an animal rescue organization of your choice.


  • Heidi Meyer Hamilton

    I will miss you John Ward and all the fun we had fixing fence and doing chores and tractor lessons together, sharing lunch and dinners. Thank you for slowing me down enough to get to have all of the time that I had with you. I will you see again someday my friend!!
    Heidi Hamilton

  • Bill McCann

    I am very sorry that circumstances did not allow me to attend the service, especially since I was asked to make a few remarks. I have know John since I was a small child; he and Alice knew my parents. Eric was the ring bearer when Carol and I were married in 1967, the summer of love. I have admired John as a lawyer and as a person who has given back to the community in so many ways. I loved his sense of humor. My favorite John Ward story is about the time I walked over to John’s office to see if he might have some space to rent. John was not there but Carol Mayer showed me around. First, she took me into an office which was piled high with books and papers. “This is where John works.” Carol told me. Next, she led me into a very clean office with appropriate wall hangings and an immaculate desk. this was where John met his clients. Finally, Carol led me into an office near the back of the building, which was John’s third and final office space. Carol stood there, near the door and said, “This room is for the cats.” Apparently John took care of several stray cats by providing food and water in his back office. Seeing that there was no room for me, I thanked Carol and left. I never did discuss this with John.

  • Carl Garrison

    John Ward was a fine man and a great Rotarian. John had a kind soul, a great sense of humor, and wonderful wit. He will be missed!

  • Cheri and Dallas Bower

    John has been our wonderful neighbor for over twenty years. He was a positive influence on my three children. We will miss his kind ways and smile. He was truly a man of honor and integrity. My husband, children and I send our condolences to his family. He will be greatly missed.

  • Kacy Johnson

    My condolences to the family of John, he was a quiet, caring man. For 20 + years, he was my “neighbor” across the alley between our businesses in downtown Sedro-Woolley. I really enjoyed his dry sense of humor!

  • Debbie Duncan

    John Ward was my favorite uncle, willing to help anyone and everyone who needed it. He had a quiet sense of humor that makes me smile even now. I learned to water ski thanks to my Uncle John! Summer vacations in Sedro Woolley with him and Alice and Nancy, Jeanne, Jeff and Eric are cherished childhood memories for which I always will be grateful.