Tom Ward

Obituary of Tom Ward

Tom Ward

December 29, 1939 – April 18, 2023


It is with deep sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of our dad, Tom Ward.  Tom was born in Saskatoon on December 29, 1939.  He attended Minnesota school near his home in the Vanscoy area.  Tom left school early to help on the farm, later completing his Grade 12 at night school while working at the Department of Horticulture at the University of Saskatchewan.  Tom greatly valued education and continued learning throughout his entire life.  He obtained diplomas and degrees from the University of Saskatchewan in the School of Agriculture, the College of Agriculture and the College of Education.  In the fall of 1970, Tom took a teaching position in Lloydminster.  He taught High School for 2 years in Lloydminster and then made the decision to move to his farm.  While the house was being built, Tom taught at Sion School in Saskatoon.  After staying home to raise cattle for several years, Tom was asked to take a position in the Department of Horticulture, University of Saskatchewan.  He would happily spend the next 30 years teaching labs and horticulture classes, doing Horticulture research, managing Patterson Garden, the Horticulture and Agriculture greenhouses and mentoring many students who valued his knowledge, wit and comradery.  Tom was immensely involved in horticulture extension work with the University of Saskatchewan.  He brought the University of Saskatchewan to all corners of the province through his horticulture presentations, judging flowers, fruits and vegetables and his volunteer work with the Saskatchewan Horticultural Association. 

In addition to his U of S horticulture responsibilities, Tom continued to be an active cattle farmer during his life.  Tom was one of the earlier pioneering Red Angus Breeders in Saskatchewan.  He established Red Letter Stock Farm in 1976 and by 1980 he owned the highest dollar red angus female to sell in Canada.  He then embarked on an embryo transplant program that made him one of the earliest breeders to do this in Saskatchewan. 

Tom was an original member of the Vanscoy 4-H club and went on to be the beef leader in the 1980s.  He enjoyed the trips, friendships and judging component of 4-H.  Even as he got older, 4-H was still a part of his life by spending time watching his grandchildren at 4-H events.

Tom delighted in travelling:  Alaska, Canadian west coast, Mexico, Cuba, Australia, India, Europe and the United States.  He enjoyed meeting all sorts of people, learning about agriculture in other parts of the world and trying new food wherever he went.  Tom was passionate about so many things, and opinionated!, but always up for an honest, open conversation.  He took great pleasure in growing things, both inside and outside; his flowers, apples trees, strawberries, chickens and cattle.  He loved checking cows on the farm, helping on processing day and delivering bulls. 

Tom wore many hats: dad, grandpa, cattle farmer, horticulturist, teacher and friend.  The coffee pot was always full and the stories were many.  Tom was a farmer at heart.  He enjoyed socializing with friends, neighbors and coworkers.  He gathered with his retired Horticulture friends for many birthdays and celebrations.   His former customers, students and coworkers always looked forward to a visit from Tom, a chance to sit down for a coffee or beer to hear his stories and his opinions.  He was young at heart, vivacious and will be missed by many.

Tom was predeceased by his parents, Adolph and Lillian (Clarke) Ward and all of his siblings: Rose, Elof, Mary, Alice, Leila, Sylvia and Dean.  He is survived by: his children, Clarke (Denise) and Adrienne (Chris); and their mother, Joan; grandchildren, Josh (Kari), Cole (Kathryn), Dion, Dane and Masyn; and great granchildren, Carter and Olivia.

Everyone is invited to Tom’s Celebration of Life at the Vanscoy Circle Hall (1st Street West) in Vanscoy, SK on Saturday, April 29th beginning at 2pm.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate to the Saskatoon Food Bank, as Tom always made sure nobody went hungry.  Special thanks to Myrna Varga and her staff at Keedwell Assisted Living Center for their excellent care of Tom during his final month. 


Celebration of Life

2:00 pm
Saturday, April 29, 2023
Vanscoy Circle Hall
(1st street west)
Vanscoy, Saskatchewan, Canada
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