By Laurie Stone
Bill Ward, age 52, died Sept. 2, 2004, at his home. Family members said he was a man of integrity to all those that were touched by his loving generosity and kindness.
He was an employee for the city of Portales, supervising street repairs and the construction of buildings.
He was a man capable of many things and was referred to as a jack of many trades.
Tammy McSperitt, Ward’s niece, said, “If God needed a mechanic or a house builder then he got the best one.”
Family and friends describe Bill as having a strong character and being a source of strength for many in his life.
“It was this strength that encouraged others to smile,” said Raenell Ward, Bill’s wife. “He loved being around people and helping them. He was a friend to those that needed one and a father to children that weren’t his own.”
Curtis Wagner, a friend, explained that Bill was always working on something in his shop for other people.
“Often times, he would keep odd mechanical parts around just in case someone needed them. His intentions were to benefit others with convenience. This was his way of reaching out to help others,” Wagner said.
Charlene Stokes, Bill’s daughter, said her favorite memory of her father was when her daughter Ayla was born, making Bill a grandfather for the first time.
“My dad was the first one to see her, his little pumpkin,” Stokes said, “but it was when he put her in my arms that I remember the most. It was like he gave her to me.”
“He was a really nice guy,” said Bill’s 10-year-old son Billy. “He taught me a lot about being a mechanic and how to fish.”
Ward’s first love was his family and friends. He most enjoyed being with them at the lake or in the mountains. “He was always doing for people, but it wasn’t just giving them his skills or his time that was most important,” said Raenell. “Rather it was his knowledge.”
Bill was born on June 9, 1952, in Ruidoso, to Jessie and John H. Ward. He grew up in Ruidoso, but moved to Central Valley, Calif. where he graduated from high school, before returning to Ruidoso for several years. While living there, he worked as a carpenter and as a mechanic.
He married Raenell Smith on March 20, 1987. They made their home in Amarillo until 1992, where he worked as a long haul truck driver. Bill began working for the city of Portales on Jan. 1, 1992.
Ward’s greatest love was his family and friends. His sister said that while growing up, Bill was quiet and reserved but as he got older, he became very sociable.
Family members said that Ward spent a great deal of time at home in his shop, helping family and friends with mechanic work.
“He was always working on something for someone,” said Curtis Wagner, Ward’s best friend.