Ruth Janet McPhail was born February 18, 1936 in Fort Worth, Texas. Her mother, Ruth Beck McPhail died ten days later from complications. Her father Marcus Orlando McPhail, who went by Dub, was a photographer and tornado chaser for the Dallas Star newspaper. As a toddler, Ruth was given the nickname of Nancy, which she used the rest of her life.
For high school and her associate degree, Nancy attended Southwestern Union Junior College in Keene, Texas. For her bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in secondary education she attended and graduated from Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her first job was as high school English teacher and Girls’ Dean at Oak Park Academy, in Nevada, Iowa. While teaching there a single father with two boys who was a principal of an elementary school in Beltsville, MD started corresponding with her. That summer she traveled east to visit her college roommate, but ended up in a whirlwind of ten-days of dating that principal, John H. Ward. He proposed to her at Camp Blue Ridge in Montebello, VA.
John H. Ward and Nancy McPhail married on December 20, 1962. Their daughter, Heidi, was born on her father’s birthday, September 14, 1970.
Nancy was a stay-at-home mom, she also boarded children, and did day-care. When she went back to work, she was a secretary, and she ended her career as an office administrator in charge of Distance Learning at Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, MA.
After being transferred to different schools John and Nancy Ward moved to South Lancaster, MA in 1978, and then moved to Lincoln Street in Leominster, MA in 1988. Nancy was widowed in 2014, but continued to reside there by herself until June of 2022. In June Nancy put her house up for sell and moved to Lexington, VA to stay at the Havenwood Assisted-living Center near her eldest son, John. In December she moved into John and Laura Ward’s home and was put under hospice care. She died New Year’s morning.
Ruth (Nancy) Ward is survived by her three children and their spouses: John M. and Laura Ward of Montebello, VA, Trent and Debbie Ward of Cookville, TN, and Heidi and Glenn Banks of Barre, VT. She is also survived by 4 grandchildren: John L. Ward, Amy Ward, Jonathan Ward, and Alexis Banks.
Services will be held at the Wright Roy Funeral Home, 109 West Street, Leominster, MA. Visiting Hour will begin at 6:30pm Thursday, February 9, and the Memorial Service will follow at 7:30pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her honor to either of her favorite charities would be appreciated: Jesus for Asia, P.O. Box 1221, Collegedale, TN 37315, jesus4asia.org; or Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301, dav.org.
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