Obituary of Ward Wilson
We don’t only learn from experiences, but we also learn to experience. With Ward we did exactly that. We definitely had our share of heart-warming moments and painful ones, especially the latter ones these past three years.
He loved baseball with passion as well as fly fishing and from time to time a good cigar. He travelled near and far for business and pleasure and enjoyed the view from their condo of many sunrises and sunsets… oh, and how he loved to sunbathe next to the pool. His ritual was to wake up very early and read the Tampa Bay Times on the balcony while seeing the dolphins swim and jump in the distance and the boats sail by.
He left a wife who he loved with all his heart and who loved him back. He did not speak Spanish – only some words but listened attentively when our mother talked to him in Spanish and could carry out this very unique and simultaneous bilingual conversation with her. He also left a brother two years younger than him. In total, he had seven children from different marriages and a dozen grandchildren. He had two sons and five daughters, three of them, his stepdaughters.
Ward passed away on November 28th, a sunny fall afternoon on Thanksgiving’s Day 2019. The sky was blue as his eyes, his favorite color and I described it for him, so he knew it was a beautiful day.
Before he moved on, I had the chance of forgiving him and asking him for forgiveness. Being Thanksgiving Day, the fact of giving thanks was essential. I thanked him for advice he gave me when I asked for it. I thanked him for giving us the idea to get married on Honeymoon Island and taking me to the altar because my father was not going to be there, I thanked him for shouting my name out loud with his powerful voice when I was receiving my Master’s degree diploma, and I also reminded him that I thought it was a very nice touch to ask me, the oldest daughter, permission to date my mom.
He lived his life in an overzealous way, just like the song… with his face against the wind, always daring life.
A glass of Martini and the sports channel in front of him during the afternoon was Ward Wilson's favorite moment of the day. He used to lay on his black leather chair after a long day at the office, coming home from a not so overwhelming traffic in such a quiet and ideal city for vacations as Clearwater. He loved to have the sunset behind him, which appeared every day through a big window that also allowed him to enjoy the great sea and the dolphins that magically jumped over the water from time to time.
It was the will to continue having responsibilities out of the house and the longing for investing his time and abilities as long as he could that drove him to work until he was eighty years old.
He was a very dedicated worker who more than once told us the story of his first job as a little nine-year-old boy delivering newspapers in his neighborhood and since then decided to never stop pursuing his goals without taking a break until he achieved them.
But if someone ever asked me who Ward Wilson really was and if I have to find a term that I consider describes him in this life, the first answer that jumps into my mind is: baseball player. That was his great passion, the special years in which he shined as a star in different fields to compete with a lot of discipline and relentless. The perseverance that always characterized him drove him to be a very good player, tireless and with unmeasurable energy. Every time that Ward spoke about his experience in the leagues he participated, his eyes brightened up and he filled with joy.
Curiously, his years as a baseball player were less than his as a worker in different companies, and besides the success that he had as an employee, his years competing in the fields were the ones that gave him the best memories and happiness that he could ever had in his lifetime.
From that golden period, he always told with nostalgia what he lived and what he left us as lessons of life: to fight very hard for something you love, to have determination and strength and never, ever stop dreaming.
Ward Wilson was born in Queens, NY to a Lithuanian immigrant
family. In his early years he moved to Florida, and it was there that he
Growing up he enjoyed fishing on the Homosassa river and playing
sports competitively. After high school he played professional baseball for
variety of teams, but most notably for the '53 Cincinnati Reds. After
baseball, this handsome man worked as a clothing model, and then, as a
salesman in the apparel industry. Ward's confidence and determination
made him very successful in his professional career, achieving high level
management positions in Fortune 100 companies. Ward was a man with
strong opinions, who was not shy of sharing them.
Ward became a stepfather later in life. As such, he walked his three
stepdaughters down the aisle. He was also a career mentor for many years
to one of his stepdaughters, providing advice and support throughout her
professional growth. Ward is remembered as strong, witty and a go-
getter. He will be missed by his wife, stepdaughters and grandkids.
The thing I remember most fondly about Ward was the kindness he showed
me and the woman who would one day become my wife on my first visit
to Florida. His booming voice, broad smile and generous spirit will not
soon be forgotten. Thank you for the happy times, Ward, and may you rest in peace.
My papapa was a loving man every time we went to visit him and my
mamama. He always welcomed us with a warm heart. My favorite time
with him was when we were watching a baseball game on TV and he was
telling us about his baseball career. We were laughing and chilling and just
plain having a good time. I still love him. A lot. I will miss him, but instead
of thinking about the bad stuff, I will think about the good stuff.
Papapa was a great grandfather. He was one of the best storytellers
I know. My favorite story that he told me was the one about the giraffe
and the coke he drank. It was super funny. I am happy that I still have
the Swiss Army knife he gave me. I use it as something to remind me of him.
I will love him forever.