Newton “Newt” George Ward, 87, passed away on Saturday, March 8, 2014, from complications of a recent surgery.
Newt was born in Lysander, NY on April 1, 1926. There was not a more appropriate day than April Fool’s Day for Newt to be brought in to this world. His constant humor and ability to make anyone laugh was undeniable.
Newt attended school in Fulton, NY. He was a proud member of the Drum and Bugle Corp.
After falsifying his age, with his father’s permission, he joined the US Navy in 1942 at the age of 16. He served on the USS Abele and USS Hilarity, holding a rank of Motor Machinist Mate Third Class.
He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, the American Theatre Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Medal and the Victory Medal during his service in the Navy. He received an honorable discharge March 25, 1946.
Throughout his life, Newt worked for various employers. One of his most memorable jobs was working as a salesman for Coca-Cola.
Newt loved to share with friends and family his success story of “outselling all route salesmen for the red Coca-Cola coolers” in 1954. In the small community of Fulton, 22 of the 23 service stations held Ward-sold red coolers for Coca-Cola. His gift of gab, work ethic and tenacity ensured his success in sales.
In addition, Newt operated the Mobil Gas Station, named Ward’s Service Station in Fulton, NY. He was always proud of the service he provided the Fulton community. He also enjoyed the flexibility this provided him to disappear for something very important, such as a good card game or exciting craps game.
Upon closing of Ward’s service station, Newt began his journey as a proud Teamster at Fiddler, the Oswego steam station and Nine Mile. He retired in 1991 as the Teamster steward.
Newt was a staunch union man and had no problems sharing his opinions on that issue. Shortly after retirement, Newt returned to the world of employment.
He was a truck driver for New Penn Golf Carts for several years. He not only knew where every diner was in New York, but where every golf course was as well.
At a young age, Newt had a passion for car racing. He was a frequent driver at The Oswego Speedway.
Newt’s impact on the local racing community still exists today. Driving the infamous polka dotted car, number 8, he won the Opening Night Feature at the Oswego Speedway in 1953.
This led to his love for NASCAR racing, always cheering for Dale Earnhardt Jr. In addition, Newt truly enjoyed a game of chance, whether it involved football, cards, horses or dice. Those who were able to join him at a casino could admire his ability to brave the odds – sometimes with success, sometimes not.
Knowing that so many of his friends and family supported Syracuse Athletics and the Yankee Baseball Club, he religiously watched every SU basketball and football game and NY Yankee game, always cheering for the opposing team. The sole purpose of this was to be the first to mention an SU or Yankee loss to their fans.
Newt could always be heard repeating some of his famous lines such as “This isn’t my first rodeo,” “Darlene Who?” or pointing to his head stating “What do you think? This is just for holding a hat”?
Many moons ago, he was known to be in a bar stating, “When Newt Ward drinks, everybody drinks, which led to drinks being poured for all in the place, then when he finished his drink he said “When Newt Ward pays, everybody pays.”
We have been told he then had to quickly exit the bar.
Newt could also be found at Mimi’s Diner for breakfast nearly every morning. He found one of the advantages of aging was the ability to flirt with the waitresses without being charged with harassment.
He always had a way to make whoever was waiting on him believe she was his favorite. The family would like to thank each and every waitress at Mimi’s for all of the joy and laughter they brought to him and taking care of him like he was their dad.
Newt had a lifelong love for chocolate and ice cream. He would always pick an extra large banana split over any nutritional meal. His family and friends could always plan on a nightly trip to Carvels, Byrne Dairy or The Big Dipper.
His wit, stories and sense of humor were unparalleled. This could often be verified by some of his closest friends, Randy Perry, Norm (Sparky) Bovay, Fred Bevacqua, Dick Clark and Gerry Allen.
Newt lived his life on his own terms. He lived large, loved large and left a large legacy behind.
Newt is predeceased by his parents, Newton Nutting Ward and Genevieve (Horr) Ward, his brothers Jack and Elmer and his sister Blanche (Ward) Brewer.
Newt is survived by his wife Ann (Anabel) Ward; children, Deborah (Dick Campbell) Ely, and Connie Ward both of Fulton, Steve (Sue) Ward of Albany, Dan (Sandy) Shue, Shelly (Randy) Allen and Tammy (Blake) Bednarz; sister Rhoda Brown; and former wife, Barbara Stowell Nastasi, all of Fulton. He is also survived by his grandchildren Matthew, Brittany, Jocelyn, Christina, Jessica, Valentina, Kimberly, Courtney, Anna and Blake; niece, Judy (Bud) Young; nephews, Jim Mangano and Randy Brown. He also leaves behind his beloved dog, Chuck.
His family is very thankful for the love and care he received from the staff of St. Luke Rehabilitation Facility, St. Francis Living Facility and St. Joseph’s Hospital Staff on Unit 2-5 and Unit 1-8.
Calling hours are from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 12 at Foster Funeral Home, 910 Fay St., Fulton, NY. Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 13, at Foster Funeral Home, Fulton.
If Newt has touched your life and you would like to share a memory at his funeral service please let one of his children know.
Contributions in memory of Mr. Ward may be made to the animal rescue organization, Paws Across Oswego County, 2035 County Route 1, Oswego, NY 13126.