Obituary: Sidney John Ward, Jr.
Sidney John (“Sid”) Ward, Jr., 78, of Jay passed away unexpectedly but peacefully Aug. 24, 2020, at his home.
The “Chairman of the (Cutting) Board” was born June 16, 1942, to Sidney Ward Sr. and Agnes (Richards) Ward. He graduated from Au Sable Forks High School in 1960 and completed a B.S. degree in business administration in three years at Babson College. He married Janet Garrecht June 30, 1962, at Jay Methodist Church before his final year at Babson, and they were blessed with two children and four grandchildren.
During his childhood, he could be found in the mill workshop with his grandfather Ezra Richards and uncles Bill and Leonard Richards, who taught and tolerated his first attempts to create something out of scraps of wood. Upon his father’s passing in 1970, he and his brother Bill became owners of Ward Lumber, with their mother, who began working there upon her marriage to Sid, Sr. Janet joined the operation in 1966 and they retired in December 1997. A third-generation owner of Ward Lumber, he and Janet worked at the family business for decades. When they retired, they transferred the management of the business to their sons, Sidney “Jay” III and Jeffrey.
Retirement proved to be too relaxing, as he continued to rise at dawn and sought interaction with friends and the community. After “leading the charge” to create the Thrift Shop at the WCUMC and working there for 10 years, Sid began making cutting boards from recycled wood in his woodshop at home. What started as two days a week at the Riverside Thrift Shop in Wilmington turned into five days a week, picking up items at homes, expanding the store’s structure, and clearing the receiving bay each morning. But while the mind was willing, his body was telling him to slow down and he turned his attention to creating cutting boards from recycled wood.
Sid’s first sale was at the KVCC church in 2001 with the sale of 20. That grew into more than 1,100 a year in 2015. He set a goal to create 10 boards per day in the summer months from a variety of woods, such as Adirondack ash, cherry, maple, red birch, oak, and bird’s-eye maple, plus roasted walnut and Brazilian cherry. He created boards in 20 shapes and sizes, ranging from traditional rectangles and circles to animal shapes such as moose, mice, fish, cats, pigs, and lobsters.
Each summer the sales of his cutting boards generated funds for local nonprofits such as fire departments, libraries, churches, North Country Life Flight, Au Sable Valley Habitat for Humanity, North Country SPCA, school trips, and other programs. His belief in Habitat for Humanity extended to his being a construction foreman for three local Habitat homes.
Sid was a member of various organizations and the recipient of many awards. In 1981 he received the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America; in 1992 he was named the Northern New York Lumber Dealers Lumberperson of the Year; in the late 1990s, Sid received Honorary Life Membership to the Northern Logger Association, where he was a longtime board member, president, and chairman; he also became an Honorary Life Member of the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association in 2000; was a longtime member and former treasurer and commissioner of the Jay Volunteer Fire Department; Sid was also a longtime member of the Au Sable Forks Rotary Club, with perfect attendance for many years, and was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow; he was also a longtime member and board member of LMB Advantage (formerly ENAP). Sid was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, attending services in Jay, Wilmington, and Orlando, Florida.
Preceding Sid to Heaven is his parents; brothers Kenneth A. Ward and William. J. Ward, Sr.; and his in-laws, Kenneth and Jean Garrecht.
Surviving Sid is his wife of 58 years, Janet G. Ward; sons and daughters-in-law, Sidney “Jay” Ward, III and Julie (Loane) Ward, and Jeffrey A. Ward and Marie-Anne (Azar) Ward; granddaughters Mollie L. Ward, Lucy A. Ward, Charlotte A. Ward, and Camille A. Ward; sisters Mary L. (James) Smith of Merritt Island, Florida; Martha L. Ward of Waterford, Ohio; and sister-in-law, Kate Ward of Au Sable Forks; plus cherished nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A private family Memorial Service will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, at Thwaits-Zaumetzer Funeral Home in Au Sable Forks. A stream will be available for the Labor Day weekend service for family and friends to participate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The video will be available after the service for on-demand viewing.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Sid’s memory to a local fire department or library of personal choice.
Arrangements were entrusted to Thwaits-Zaumetzer Funeral Home in Au Sable Forks.
Source: Thwaits-Zaumetzer Funeral Home