Norman Stanley Ward was born November 13, 1935, in Elmira, New York, to Norman and Mildred Ward. On Friday, August 21, 2020, he died peacefully at home surrounded by his family. Norman was truly one of a kind. A gentleman and a scholar. Kind to everyone he met. Polite, gentle and respectful. His offbeat but humorous quotes would fill many books. Sometimes you couldn’t believe what he had just said but it was always honest, funny and very “Norman.”
Proudly raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, Norman joined the Navy in 1954 and served his country on a “Tin Can” destroyer. He had many great stories about this time in his life. One such tale involved him being forced to peel potatoes for a week after literally “missing the boat” on which he served.
Norman attended Fairleigh Dickinson University on the G.I. bill and was the first person in his family to graduate from college. Norman worked all through college and well into retirement. We would often hear about jobs we never knew he had. Counting them all was a challenge!
He met the love of his life while working as an investigator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour division. In order to make business arrangements one day, he walked into the travel agency where she was working. Nancy’s boss asked her to “fix that nice young man a cup of coffee.” Norman and Nancy were married for over 57 years.
They began married life in Yardley, Pennsylvania, followed by moves to Pittsburg and then Palm Harbor, Florida, where they raised their family. Norman and Nancy were very involved in their neighborhood of Spanish Oaks and it was made a better place to live because of their efforts and work. Neighborhood Halloween parties and Christmas hayrides all began in the Ward’s driveway where everyone was welcome.
In 1999 Norman and Nancy relocated to Orlando, Florida to be closer to their children and two grandchildren who are the sunshine of their lives! In Orlando, Norman worked as an Investigator for Orange County doing background checks for would-be fireman and policeman. He also worked as a part-time investigator for the FBI.
In retirement, Norman and Nancy worked together at Disney’s EPCOT theme park as Special Event guides. Working side by side, they escorted wedding parties and convention groups for over 15 years, which was a great way to spend a Saturday night. They enjoyed their job together immensely and fostered many friendships with their fellow Disney cast members.
Norman’s great passions were his wife, his family and food! When he could combine all three he was a very happy man. His spaghetti and meatballs were the stuff of legend! He enjoyed travel, reading and was fantastic at taking naps and making people feel comfortable.
In recent years, during hospital stays and doctor visits, he was always so kind to the nurses and staff who took care of him. “Where ya from?” and “how many children do you have?” were always his first questions. He was truly interested in learning about anyone he met.
Norman is predeceased by his parents Norman and Mildred and by his brother David. He is survived by his wife Nancy, children Scott (Claudia) and Carolyn (Alex), and grandchildren Addie and Nicholas, all of Orlando, Florida. In New Jersey, he is survived by his cousin Diane Giani with whom he was very close and his sister-in-law Mary Tait. We will miss him beyond measure.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation to an animal shelter or SPCA location of your choice. A private family service will be held at St. Lukes Methodist Church. A celebration of Norman’s life will be held in New Jersey in the near future.