James M. Ward, Sr., age 82, of Florala, AL passed away on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 after a courageous battle against cancer. James was born on January 19, 1937 in rural Santa Rosa County, Florida where he lived until his parents moved to Ft. Walton Beach, FL in 1950. He graduated from Choctawhatchee High School in Ft. Walton Beach in 1955. During high school, James became an avid scuba diver and in 1957 he enlisted in the U. S. Army where he was a member of the little known Underwater Demolition Team. This was the Army’s version of dive teams similar to the Navy’s SEALS. In 1963 he married Catherine Melvin of Destin, FL. Together they lived in Destin for another 42 years before moving to Florala in 2005. After returning from military service, James worked for Gulf Power Company as an Electrical Utility Lineman. Afterward, in the mid-1960’s he became an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputy for several years before settling in as a telephone repair/technician with the Centel Telephone Company, which would later become Sprint, where he would retire after 30 years in 1997. In 2006 he and his wife moved to a 12-acre pecan orchard just north of Florala, AL. There, for the next 13 years, he would spend many hours riding his “buggy” around the neighborhood doing good deeds for those who would accept and even a few who wouldn’t. During his recent illness, those good deeds would be returned tenfold.
James was preceded in death by his father and mother, Ollie B. and Thelma Ward; his wife Catherine, two months ago; son Jamie, two years ago and his brother Johnnie. James is survived by his youngest brother, Jerald of Pensacola, FL.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Davis-Watkins Funeral Home, 113 NE Racetrack Road, Ft. Walton Beach, Fl 32547 on Thursday, July 11, 2019 with family and friends from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and the service to follow at 11:00 a.m. Rev. Phillip Chance will officiate the service.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation in his name to your favorite charity.
James would like to extend a request to all who will be attending. NO COATS, NO TIES, CAUSAL DRESS, SHORTS IF YOU HAVE THEM, SUSPENDERS IF YOU NEED THEM and SUNGLASSES…..SOCKS WILL BE OPTIONAL.
Please visit www.daviswatkins.com to sign the guestbook express condolences and share memories.
To send flowers to James' family, please visit our floral section.