Leslie D. Ward, 80, of Fairbury, NE passed away October 25, 2017 in Mesa, AZ. He was born on January 31, 1937 to Maurice A. & Merna (Boddey) Ward in Fairbury.
Les grew up on a farm north of Fairbury; he graduated from Fairbury High School and then left to work in Oregon. He returned to Fairbury by a harrowing motorcycle trip, one of Les’s many entertaining stories told to his family and friends. Upon return to Fairbury he worked for the Rock Island Railroad, then joined the United States Army, serving in the Military Railroad Division. After being honorably discharged from the Army, he returned to work for the Rock Island in Fairbury until his retirement. Les was an active retiree with varied interests. He was involved in the Jefferson County Historical Society and was especially interested and involved in working at the Rock Island Railroad Museum in Fairbury. The Model Railroad display on the second floor of the museum was a favorite project that he enjoyed.
The Shop behind his residence in Fairbury was a gathering place for friends and family to learn about and watch blacksmithing demonstrations. Conversations reminiscing about experiences and tales from the past and old railroader stories were a fixture at The Shop. Les’s gravelly voice and chuckle added to the enjoyment of those days.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Merna and Maurice Ward, his wife Susie, his son Larry and his sister, Janice.
Les is survived by his brother, Gary Ward of Mesa, AZ and Fairbury, NE, his son, Michael (Betty) Ward, grandchildren, Travis Ward and Dawn Smith, great-grandchildren, aunts, numerous cousins and many friends.
Services will be Friday, November 17, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at Gerdes-Meyer Chapel in Fairbury with Darlene Novotny officiating. Memorials will go to the family’s choice.