John (Jay) F. Ward, former major-league baseball player, hitting coach and minor-league manager, passed away unexpectedly on Feb. 24, 2012, at the age of 73.
He and his wife Lynn were living in Troy, Montana, where he enjoyed his retirement years hunting and fishing.
Jay, son of John and Francis Ward, was born in Brookfield, Mo., on Sept. 9, 1938. He attended Mountain Grove High School in Mo., and eventually graduated from Highland High School in Illinois in 1956.
He was known by all as a great family man, with a passion for his work and his recreational activities.
He was truly a “coach” who enjoyed teaching and sharing his passion for the game of baseball with others; he was admired by his players as a real “player’s coach.”
We know Jay will be greatly missed but the influence he has had on the lives of his family along with hundreds of lives throughout his professional and personal life will never be understated or overlooked.
He was a great man, coach, friend, and father who always inspired people to excel with hard work, integrity, and passion.
He is also survived by his four children: Liz Citron, husband, John; granddaughters Riley and Elly; Barry Ward, wife, Laurie and grandchildren Ricky, Ginny, John and Kevin; Jan Armstrong, husband Jeff, grandchildren Alison and Harris (deceased); Kerri Elmblad, husband Glenn, grandchildren Nicholas and Sidney. Step-daughter, Rhonda Miller, her children, Stormy, Angel, Rhiannon and Kerri, and step-daughter Lori Lehman, her husband, Craig and children, Cain, Hannah, Tyler and Mailynn. Also, sister and brother in-law Deb and Steve Frey of Libby, and one great-grandaughter.