Ward J. Wright
Ward J. Wright, 92, of Kanawha passed away Sunday, June 25, 2017, surrounded by his family, at the Hancock County Memorial Hospital in Britt.
Visitation to celebrate the life of Ward will be held on Saturday, July 8, 2017 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at the Ewing Funeral Home in Kanawha. A private family burial with military honors will be in Amsterdam Township Cemetery in Kanawha following visitation.
Ward J. Wright, the son of Ward and Lucia (Quigley) Wright, was born February 27, 1925 on a farm near Churdan, Iowa. He graduated from Eagle Grove High School in 1942.
Following graduation, Ward enlisted in the Navy and served as a Motor Machinist Mate 1st Class from August 1942 to February 1946, when he was honorably discharged. He was stationed in such places as Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, Midway Island and China, his job being to repair diesel engines.
Ward was united in marriage to Betty Swanson on July 26, 1952 in Kanawha, whom he dearly loved. They were soon to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary which he was so proud to share with everyone.
Ward and Betty started a feed and portable milling business in Kanawha in 1956 in which they served many wonderful customers over the years, retiring in 1986. Ward was also a chick sexer, a job once featured on the television show “Dirty Jobs” which involved separating the female baby chicks from the males, retiring from that in 1989. He attended chick sexing school in Boone, Iowa which is where he met his wife Betty. For three years Ward worked in several states out east sexing chickens and then later at various hatcheries throughout the States of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Missouri. Ward worked very long hours, many times grinding feed all day and then getting up in the wee hours of the morning to sometimes drive several hours to sex chickens and then return home to grind feed all day again.
On one of his wee-hour-of-the-morning travels during an extremely cold night in January 1967 to work at a hatchery in Spencer, Iowa he passed by a fire, only to turn around and go back to investigate where he discovered it was a house fire and ended up rescuing an 85-year old woman.
Ward was well known for his musical talent on the guitar and fiddle and for his love of playing country music. His love for playing began as a child when he and members of his family played country music together. Later he formed a band called “The Drifters” and following that, “Country Fun” which included his wife Betty as one of the members. They played at various venues, including the Surf Ballroom.
For many years he and Betty entertained the people of Kanawha in the park during their annual Labor Day Celebration and were honored to be Grand Marshalls in the Labor Day Parade in 2001. They also entertained at various nursing homes in the area and other small town celebrations. Then, of course, there always had to be music during gatherings on Ward’s side of the family. They enjoyed going to “jam sessions” in Otho and Dows where they made many special friends.
Throughout the years Ward and Betty had the opportunity to travel to various places in their motor home. In Ward’s younger years, he enjoyed riding his motorcycle and made a trip to Oregon and on down the California coastline along with other trips to Tennessee, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Canada and Pennsylvania.
Most recently, Ward enjoyed working in his shop making yard ornaments for his family, friends and neighbors and took pleasure in giving them away. He was even known to repair a sewing machine or two for some of the local ladies if they asked. He was an inventor of sorts, patenting a chicken counting device in 1953.
Ward is survived by his wife Betty of Kanawha; daughter Kim (John) Miller of Britt; grandchildren Tracy (Thomas) DeWaard of Ozark, Missouri and Corey Miller and his special friend Laura Duckworth of Springfield, Missouri; great-grandson Ian DeWaard and soon-to-be adopted great-grandchildren Emma and Mason; sister Zola Medgaarden of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; brother Carol Wright of Albuquerque, New Mexico; special nephew Doug (Kathy) Medgaarden of Yukon, Oklahoma along with other nieces and nephews.
Ward was preceded in death by his parents and sister Bernice Hovey-Bramon.
Click below to view Ward Wright’s Memorial Tribute Video: