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Charles Dean (Charlie) Ward
March 1, 1930 ~ February 9, 2024 (age 93) 93 Years Old
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Charles Dean Ward, left this world Friday evening, February 9, 2024 after a brief illness. Born March 1st, 1930 to the late J. Howard and Mae Dorsett Ward, he arrived ready to tear apart or fix any machine set before him. From an early age, he wanted to know how stuff worked, be it the lawnmower, tricycle, or phone lines. When his mother received calls from one particularly chatty friend, Charles discovered if he climbed up the telephone pole, he could jiggle the right lines, creating static, which Mae knew nothing about thus being able to truthfully tell the other party they had a bad connection. Not happy to have broken down and fixed his first well pump at age 6, he went on to plumb his sister Rita’s playhouse. He was a busy child.
College wasn’t for Charlie, instead of entering High Point University, he decided to enlist in the US Navy, and off to Norfolk he rode on his BSA motorcycle. Remember, this was before interstate highways, so that was a long, long ride, which he undoubtedly loved. Following the Navy, he ended up as the maintenance man for Southern Die Casting. In addition, he worked with his father in the family plumbing business where he learned to install and fix residential plumbing and water well pumps.
Speaking of wells, one of the family’s most vivid memories is the day he “shot the well” in his backyard, a procedure that involved stringing together 50 sticks of dynamite along with a 100 yards of lamp cord down a 363’ hole. Because it was a Saturday his children along with his niece and nephew were there to witness what happened next. He plugged in the cord, the dynamite did its job. A plume of clear water shot up. The children were awed! Then, there was a second of quiet. That’s when the aftershock occurred. Brown water and rocks exploded 300’ in the air, raining down upon them, scattering all who witnessed it and searing that in their minds forever.
As hard as Charlie worked, he also played. His cousin Gilbert Marsh ignited his love of sailing, which led to his love of racing sailboats. In addition to many season and Labor Day regatta championships at High Rock Yacht club, he was most proud of winning the first North American Regatta for South Coast 22’s in Eufaula Alabama in 1979 and the 1990 Piotrowski Cup Regatta, Belews Creek, NC. The man knew the wind and the water, and how much speed he could pull from the boat he helmed.
Along with sailing, Charlie also enjoyed restoring antique tractors, listening to bluegrass, growing and canning tomatoes, and traveling whenever and wherever. In these adventures he was joined by his loving companion, Myra Blackburn. Together they would hitch up their small camper and take off for various North Carolina attractions, be it a music festival or heading to the mountains to see the rhododendrons in bloom. They weren’t scared to travel to far flung national parks or head to Florida to observe a space launch, whatever sounded like a good trip was their destination.
Charlie was a lifelong member of Hopewell United Methodist Church in Trinity, NC, and attended every Sunday, followed by lunch at the Terry House, as his health permitted.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his daughter Rosemary, and sister Rita Ward Needham. Those left to cherish his memory are sons Sherrill Dean (Connie) of Winston Salem, James Howard (Lu Ann), William Clay (Heather), and Neal Thomas (Mary) of Thomasville, daughter Frances Diane Willis of Savannah, grandchildren Leslie Ward, Travis Ward, Caleb Ward (Lanna), Abbie Ward, Foster Willis, two great grandchildren, Nova and Nash Dean Ward, and his beloved Myra. Special thanks to Tracy Claypool as well as Trellis Supportive Care who helped care for Charlie during his last days. Through their compassion, he was able to die at home, surrounded in love by his family.
Services will be held at Hopewell United Methodist Church, Saturday February 17, 2024 at 11:00 am followed by a short graveside service. Afterward, family and friends will gather in the fellowship hall for refreshments. Those wishing to contribute to his memory may donate to Hopewell UMC. Online condolences may be sent to www.jcgreenandsons.com.