Ward, John Franklin
Age: 96Passed Away: 2010-09-11Funeral Home: Haisten Funeral Home
Mr. John Franklin Ward, Sr., 96, of McDonough, passed away Sept. 11, 2010. He was
born in McDonough, to the late Lemma Mitchell and William Andrew Ward. After
pharmacy school, he worked in Winder, Ga., where he met his wife, Elwyn Wilson, who
was working for the late U.S. Sen. Richard B. Russell. They were married Oct. 14,
1940, and made McDonough their home. John Frank bought Leslie Drug Co., and
worked as a pharmacist until his retirement. Ward Drug Company was on The Square in
McDonough until recent years. He was an Elder at the McDonough Presbyterian
Church, Fire Chief of the McDonough Fire Department, active in the Kiwanis Club and
was a city councilman for many years. John Frank was a vet to many people and a
doctor to others. Ward Drug Company was open twelve hours a day, six days a week
and several hours on Sunday afternoon. He took after-hours calls for medicine,
sometimes going to the drugstore in the middle of the night, and then, delivering it to the
customer. He was named Citizen of the Year for 1975; given the Faithful Service Award
for Volunteer Fire Chief, from 1942 until 1980; an Appreciation Award for City Council
service; named Good Citizen of the Year by the Henry County Chamber of Commerce in
1986; honored for “Service Above Self” in 1993; and given the Key to the City of
McDonough, and recognized for more than 30 years of service to the McDonough Fire
Department. John Frank Ward Boulevard, in McDonough, was named in honor of him.
In a 1998, newspaper article, he was quoted as saying, “Treat others like you want to
be treated, go to church and be honest.” Survivors include his wife of nearly 70 years,
Elwyn Wilson Ward; children, Elizabeth Pearce and Jeff Ward; grandchildren, Noel
(Kelly) Love, Margaret (Wally) Cawthon, Merritt Ramsaur and Kelley Qualls; great-
grandchildren, Kaitlin and Mitchell Love, and Aynsley Ramsaur. Funeral services will be
conducted Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 3 p.m., from the McDonough Presbyterian Church.
Friends may visit the family Wednesday, from 1:30 to 3 p.m., at the church. Interment
will follow at McDonough City Cemetery. Contributions are asked to be made to Praying
for Paws-McDonough, or the charity of your choice, in memory of Mr. Ward. Haisten
Funeral Home, 1745 Zack Hinton Parkway South, McDonough, Ga. 30253, (770) 914-
By Jason A. Smith
Family members of a longtime businessman in Henry County said he will be
remembered for his giving spirit.
A funeral service is scheduled for 3 p.m., Wednesday, at McDonough Presbyterian
Church, in remembrance of John Franklin Ward, Sr., of McDonough. Ward, owner of
Ward Drug Company, died Saturday at the age of 96.
Ward was born March 24, 1914 in McDonough, the son of Lemma Mitchell and William
Andrew Ward. While attending pharmacy school and working in Winder, he met his wife,
Elwyn Wilson. The two married Oct. 14, 1940 and were married for 69 years, until his
Ward was the owner of the Ward Drug Company in Henry County. He was named
Citizen of the Year in 1975, and served as volunteer fire chief in McDonough from 1942
until 1980. He received the Good Citizen of the Year award from the Henry County
Chamber of Commerce in 1986. He was also a former McDonough city councilman and
a member of the Kiwanis Club in Henry County.
Ward’s daughter, Elizabeth Pearce, said she was “proud” of her father, whose legacy
continues to be seen on the street which bears his name, John Frank Ward Boulevard,
in downtown McDonough.
She described her father as a man of faith, and said he began serving as an elder at
McDonough Presbyterian Church, before having children. “The church was very, very
important to him,” said Pearce, 66. “He was a very gentle father. I adored him. When I
was little, he spent a lot of time with me. I had a horse, and he rode with me.”
Pearce said her father was “as generous as anybody I’ve ever known.” She added that
his generosity was exemplified in his work at the pharmacy, at a time when doctors were
few in Henry.
“People called him to give their horses and their cows inoculations and shots,” said
Pearce. “If their horses and cows were ill, he gave them medicine. People would bring
their babies to him, and he would give them medicine.
“Finally, it came to the point where pharmacists were no longer allowed to give medicine
to somebody without a prescription from a doctor,” Pearce continued. “But before that,
Daddy had just taken care of everybody. He told me, ‘If you have something, share it,
because you can always get more.’”
Ward’s son, Jeff Ward, said he saw his father, on a daily basis, helping others through
his pharmacy business. “I saw him give medicine to people, that he knew would never
be able to pay for it ... elderly people that literally had no income,” said Jeff Ward, 61.
“He also got mad at some people that could have paid, but didn’t. So, it worked both
The son said his father taught him to “treat people like you want to be treated.
“Whatever he did for me, there were never any strings attached,” Jeff Ward said.
Jeff Ward said he recalls fond memories of accompanying his father on fire calls as a
teenager. He added that, from time to time, his father would let him drive to those calls.
“If there was a fire anywhere in the county, they used to call the drug store, and he
would respond almost always,” said Jeff Ward. “How many kids do you know that didn’t
have a driver’s license, that got to drive a fire truck? There were occasions when I was
14 or 15, that a call would come in — there were two trucks then — and he would leave
in one and I would leave in the other.”
Jeff Ward acknowledged that his father was an imperfect person, who occasionally
displayed a temper. Still, the son said he admires his father for the legacy he has left in
“He was a flawed human being like the rest of us,” he said. “At the same time, what has
struck me is, what a contribution to a community even a flawed individual can give.
There’s a lot to be said for that.”
"A Memory of a family Friend"
Mr. John Frank Ward, Sr. was the owner of the drugstore on the square. I remember
as a teenager when my dad had open-heart surgery we needed some medicine during
the night and he brought it to the house. That was the kind of man he was. A good
caring gentleman who loved his community. The decisions he would make on the
McDonough City Council would be in the best interest of the people of the town.
I remember when my mom had her diner on Hood Street, he would come over for lunch
when he could or send for something. He liked my mom and dad and the feeling was
mutual. Now they are all gone but the memories still remain.