Lt. Col. Robert F. Ward

  Lieutenant Colonel, Robert F. Ward (Ret) 65 of Water View Avenue, East Providence passed away Monday May 25, 2015 at Rhode Island Hospital. He was the husband of Mary E. (Pillsbury) Ward to whom he was married for 44 years. Born in Portland, Maine he was a son of the late Douglas and Anne (Qualey) Ward. Lt. Col. Robert Ward served for over 42 years in the Army National Guard of Maine and Rhode Island. He received his commission as an Engineer Officer from the Maine Army National Guard in 1970 after completing Officer Candidate School. He served with company B, 133rd Engineer Battalion, Maine Army National Guard before transferring to the 118th Engineer Company, Rhode Island Army National Guard in 1975. Lieutenant Colonel Ward served in the 243rd  Engineer Battalion for the next 13 years as Commander, 861st Engineer Company and Operations Officer and Personnel Officer. He continued to serve with distinction as the Selective Service Officer from1988 to 1995, when he was promoted to Major and served as the Secretary to the General Staff. He returned to the Corps of Engineers in 1995 as the Commander of Detachment 5 (Engineer Support) from 1996 to 2000. In 2000, Lieutenant Colonel Ward was appointed as a Chief Warrant Officer-two and continued to serve his State and Nation as a Military Personnel Technician and Command Marksmanship Coordinator. He was instrumental in preparing the first Rhode Island Soldiers who were mobilized for OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM by conducting all Marksmanship training at Fort Drum, NI during 2003. Colonel Ward also served as the Officer Personnel Manager for Joint Force Headquarters, Rhode Island and as the Military Human Resources Technician for the 56th Troop Command. During Lieutenant Colonel Ward’s long service, he repeatedly served as the Liaison Officer for the visiting teams participating in the Army National Guard Static Line Parachute Competition (Leapfest). Robert was renowned for his warm personality and care of all visiting foreign parachuting teams and his service enhanced the fellowship of the airborne forces from all nations.  He continued to serve the Rhode Island National Guard after retirement in 2012 as a civilian contractor where his talents were utilized in strategic and organizational planning.  He led the Rhode Island Guard’s process improvement effort and Army Communities of Excellence Line of operation.  Lieutenant Colonel Ward was a highly decorated officer, earning the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Rhode Island Star. For his service during the Blizzard of 78, he earned the Humanitarian Service Medal, and the Rhode Island Emergency Service Ribbon.  Lieutenant Colonel Ward’s service reflected great credit upon himself as an Army Officer and Leader.  He will be remembered as a quiet professional, friend and mentor.  After 42 years of service in the Military he looked forward to his retirement in September of 2015. Besides his wife he leaves one son Derek C. Ward and his wife Deana of East Providence, one daughter Andrea Ward and her significant other Paul Annicelli of East Providence, four grandchildren Jillian and Ryan Ward, Dylan and Payton Annicelli, one brother William Ward and his wife Deborah of Maine, and several nieces and nephews.  His funeral will be held Friday at 7 AM from the PERRY MCSTAY FUNERAL HOME 2555 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence with a Mass of Christian Burial at 8 AM in St. Francis Xavier Church, North Carpenter Street, East Providence.  Burial with Military Honors will be in the RI Veterans Cemetery 301 S. County Trail, Exeter.  Calling hours Thursday 4-8.