Gene Ward, 81

COLUMBIA CITY — Gene D. Ward, 81, a Union Township, Whitley County native, died at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011 in the North Care Hospice House in North Kansas City, Mo. Gene was born April 29, 1930 in Fort Wayne, a son of Hubert A. and Nora May (Miller) Ward.His formative years were spent in Union Township, Whitley County. He graduated from Coesse High School in 1948.On June 16, 1951 Gene Darwin Ward and Loretta May Miller where united in marriage.The couple lived in Memphis, Tenn. and later Jacksonville, Fla. while Gene served in the Navy during the Korean War.Gene and Loretta returned to Coesse in 1954. In 1961 Gene Loretta and family moved to Fort Wayne, in 1968 to Independence, Mo. and in 1979 to their home in Lathrop, Mo. Loretta preceded Gene in death on March 30, 2002. Gene was the National Service Manager for Western Auto Supply Company from December 1960 until April 1992 when he retired. Surviving relatives include four children, all of Missouri, Chad Ward of Lathrop, Shane Ward of Independence, Brett Ward of Parkville and Shari Nichols of Lathrop; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. In addition to Gene’s wife Loretta, Gene was also preceded in death by two sisters, Katherine Barnes, Mona Schmitt, and his brother Dale Ward. Visitation will be Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Smith & Sons Funeral Home, Columbia City. The funeral service will be held Monday at 10:30 a.m. at the funeral home. The burial service will be at the Union Township Cemetery (Coesse) with military honors presented by Whitley County Korean War Veterans Honor Guard. Gene has requested that Preferred Memorials are to the American Lung Association.Condolences may be sent to