News

June 22, 2010

Former Trustee Ralph E. Ward Jr. ’50 Dies

He had received an honorary degree from Lafayette and its George Washington Kidd Award

Ralph E. Ward Jr. ’50, a member of Lafayette’s Board of Trustees from 1972-82 and an internationally known businessman, died Oct. 7.

He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the College in 1980. The Alumni Association honored him with the George Washington Kidd Class of 1836 Award for career distinction in 1987. He served on the Financial Policy Committee during his time as a trustee. He also was a 25+-Year Sustaining Member of the Marquis Society.

The following obituary appears in The New York Times.

Ward, Ralph E., 88, died peacefully at Greenwich Hospital on October 7, 2009, after a brief illness. He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Elaine Simon Ward of Darien, Conn. and Manhattan, and his five children, Sarah Ward Hogan of Mount Vernon, N.H., Richard R. Ward of River Falls, Wisc., Thomas D. Ward of Sarasota, Fla., John B. Ward of Darien, Conn., and James R. Ward of Easton, Conn., from his marriage to the late Eugenia E. McManigal, as well as 15 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

Born in Scotch Plains, N.J., February 26, 1921, the only child of Margaret Reynolds Ward and Ralph E. Ward Sr. He was a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy ’40 where he captained the undefeated football team of 1939. He was also a member of the varsity hockey and lacrosse teams, a member of the Senior Council, the Christian Fraternity, and the Golden Branch Debating Society.

At the onset of World War II, while attending Williams College, he applied to the Army Air Corps Flying Cadet program. He was commissioned and served as a USAAF fighter pilot and squadron commander in the 90th Fighter Squadron, 80th Fighter Group, serving two tours in the China-Burma-India Theater, flying 88 combat missions in P-40 and P-47 fighter aircraft. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed military force on March 27, 1944. As Flight Leader of his formation with four P-40′s they intercepted an enemy force of nine bombers and multiple fighters, successfully destroying eight aircraft before returning to base safely. He also was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Unit Citation, Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon with two battle stars, American Theater Ribbon, and Victory Ribbon.

After the war, he attended Lafayette College, where he later received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. While at Lafayette he was recruited by Chesebrough Manufacturing Company, which became Chesebrough-Pond’s Inc., as an international management trainee. He established the Australian Branch in Melbourne, Australia, serving as general manager, 1948-1957. Upon returning to the United States, he was appointed vice president of the international division, Far East. In the succeeding years, he rose to become president and chief executive officer in May 1968 and was elected to the additional post of chairman of the board in May 1976, serving in those positions for 19 years until his retirement in 1987.

He was a former director of The Chase Manhattan Corporation and The Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A., Stauffer Chemical Company, CPC Inc., and the Grocery Manufacturers of America, Inc., and a member of the Lafayette College Board of Trustees; the Board of Governors of Ford’s Theater Society, Washington, D.C.; The Economic Club of New York; The Conference Board; The Business Roundtable; and The American Australian Association. He was the Jackie Robinson Foundation’s first corporate sponsor and, in 1989, established the Ralph E. Ward Achievement Award, which he gave annually to recognize the graduating JRF Scholar with the highest cumulative grade point average.

An avid golfer, he was a member of Victoria Golf Club, Melbourne, Australia; Milbrook Club, Greenwich, Conn.; Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, N.Y.; Wee Burn Country Club, Darien, Conn.; and Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, U.K. He also was a member of The Tokeneke Club, Darien, Conn.; The Union League Club, N.Y.; and Coral Beach & Tennis Club, Bermuda.

Funeral services will be private. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. He was admired, respected, and loved by all in his family. He will be greatly missed.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in his memory to one of the following:

St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation, Ronald J. Bianchi, President/CEO, 2800 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT 06606 for the “Elaine S. & Ralph E. Ward Endowment Fund” for Cardiac Services; or Greenwich Hospital, 5 Perryridge Road, Greenwich, CT 06830 for the Oncology Fund, Dickerman Hollister, Jr., MD, Head Hematology/Oncology; or Philips Exeter Academy, Gift Recording, Exeter, NH 03833.

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