Thomas Delos Ward
Thomas Delos Ward, Wyoming Game Warden, World War II Veteran, and author, passed away on Friday in Casper, WY. He was 92.
He was born on November 28, 1921 in Burns, WY; the son of Fred J. Ward Sr., a homesteader turned town marshal, and Georgia F. Thompson, a schoolteacher. Tom (one of nine children) divided his time between attending school in Saratoga and working on the family homestead during the summer. In later years, Tom's stories of his childhood would describe a world of hard work, adventures on the river, "running wild in the sagebrush," with evenings spent gathered around his mother's rocking chair, listening to her read stories. A life-long love of books would become a hallmark for the entire Ward clan.
In 1942, following the outbreak of WWII, Tom was drafted into the army and would go on to serve with the 385th Infantry in the European Theatre. Arriving in France in late 1944, Sgt. Ward of the 76th Infantry Division served as a field lineman in a grueling push through German occupied France, into Belgium and Luxembourg, before piercing the Siegfried Line into Germany itself; a total of more than 400 miles, covered in 110 days of constant combat. The ordeal was to reach its apex in April when the 76th helped liberate the Buchenwald Death Camp near Weimar. Within a month, Germany would surrender. By the war's end, Ward had served for over three years and received the Bronze Star and Rifleman's Badge.
Tom returned to Saratoga where he met and married local school teacher Barbara Covey on December 7, 1947. During the punishing blizzard of 1949, they welcomed their first son, Tom, into their home. A daughter, Jeanne, would join them the following year in Laramie, where the elder Tom was attending the University of Wyoming. A second daughter, Shannon arrived in 1957 while Tom was working at the Federal Fish Hatchery near Saratoga.
With his love for the outdoors, Tom finally found his true calling in 1966 when he was offered a position as a game warden for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. For the next eleven years, he could be found (in traditional red shirt), patrolling the forests and fields near Evanston and Douglas, WY.
Retiring in 1977, Tom and Barbara moved to Pinedale, and later Douglas. During this period, Tom's childhood love of books found a natural outlet when he began writing his own stories. At the time of his passing, he had penned several novels and even a collection of short stories.
Ever eager for new adventures, Tom and Barbara would, in later years, divide their time between Wyoming and the Manzanita Indian Reservation in San Diego County, CA.
Tom Ward was a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the NRA and the Converse County Peace Officers.
He is survived by his wife Barbara, his son Tom and his daughter Jeanne; in addition to four grandchildren and seven great-grandsons.
He was preceded in death by his parents, four siblings and his daughter Shannon.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, June 20th at the Saratoga Cemetery Chapel. Interment with military honors will follow.
Tributes and condolences may be offered online at www.carboncountyfuneralhome.com.