James "Jim" Ellis Ward, 77 of Blytheville, Ark., departed this life Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, at Great River Medical Center in Blytheville.
Jim was born Oct. 16, 1933, in Cleveland, Ark., to Ellis James and Faye Swain Ward, who preceded him in death.
Jim was known in his younger days as an avid athlete both at Deering High School and Arkansas State University, where he set records that stand today, some 58 years later. He taught the first ever driver's education class at Deering High School, and coached for a brief period before he started a career in farming in 1959, a career that he loved and expanded on for more than 25 years. He brought the use of chemicals, liquid fertilizer and various new age equipment sales and instructional help to farmers when he opened Deering Seed and Fertilizer Co. as a partner with J.F. Calhoun in the late 60's and early 70's. In 1974 he worked for Farmer's Home Administration for two years. He resumed his farming career in 1976 until 1987 when he began working for DeWitt Auction Company where he continued to be close to the farming community. He remained in the farming arena in 1989 when he went to work as a store manager for Baker Implement Co. in Blytheville, where he retired in 2000. A member of Clear Lake Baptist Church, Jim had many friends, associates, coworkers, and family that will truly miss him.
Jim's wife of 56 years, Betty Jean Lindsey Ward, of Blytheville.; sisters, Bonnie Stracener, of Franklin, Tenn., and Gloria Love, of Scotland Ark.; sons and daughters-in-law, Mark and Laura Ward, Keith and Gayla Ward, all of Deering, Mo.; nine grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; several nieces and great-nieces; a great-nephew; a host of friends, family and three exceptional friends, John R. and J.C. Taylor and Merry Jim Elder, all survive him.
The family will receive friends from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 16, at Cobb Funeral Home in Blytheville.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 17, in the Cobb Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Robert Duhon officiating.
Burial will follow in the Memorial Gardens Cemetery at Kennett.
Memorials may be made to the Clearlake Baptist Church.
Condolences may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.