Anthony E. Ward, Sr., Founder of Anthony E. Ward Funeral Home

Anthony Eldridge Ward, Sr.,78, founder of Anthony E. Ward Funeral Home, of Crisfield departed this life on Thursday, March 29, 2012, at the Edward W. McCready Memorial Hospital after a lengthy illness. Born on May 31, 1933 in Crisfield, he was the son of the late Leon E. Ward and Dorothy O. Hearn-Ward.

“Spank,” as he was affectionately known, was raised in Crisfield where he attended the Somerset County Public Schools and graduated from Carter G. Woodson High School in 1951. He joined the U.S. Army after graduating from high school and served for three years during the Korean War. After being honorably discharged, Anthony lived in Philadelphia, PA where he was employed at Getty Oil Refinery in Delaware City, DE.

On June 9, 1956, he married his high school sweetheart, Marlene. Anthony continued to work at the Oil Refinery as Mar-lene taught elementary school. However, against the advice of his peers, he left the oil refinery in 1959 to pursue his lifelong dream of being a mortician and enrolled in Eckel’s College of Mortuary Science in Philadelphia. After graduation, he served his apprenticeship at Wilson’s Funeral Home in Baltimore. In 1960, Anthony was licensed as a funeral director and embalmer in the State of Maryland and established the Anthony E. Ward Funeral Home at 11 S. Fourth Street in Crisfield. The Anthony E. Ward Funeral Home then relocated to 314 Cove Street in Crisfield. In 1989, a second funeral home location was opened in Princess Anne, MD.

In the spirit of entrepreneurship, he also operated several other businesses, including Ward’s Trucking and the Broadway Lounge Nightclub.

In addition to serving as an accomplished funeral director and embalmer, Anthony made history and was elected as the first Black City Councilman in the City of Crisfield. Anthony was active in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s and was influential in desegregating local establishments, including sit-ins and hosting the Freedom Riders when they came to Crisfield.

He was a member of St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Crisfield where he served as a trustee and sang with the Sons of Allen Men’s Choir. Anthony was a lifetime member of the Union Masonic Lodge #33 F. & A.M., the Crisfield Pride Lodge Improved Benevo-lent Protected Order Elks of the World (I.B.P.O.E.W), and the Pi Alpha Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

He was an avid fisherman and hunter and held a special passion for rabbit hunting. Anthony was an avid baseball fan and played with the Crisfield Stars Baseball Team in the 1950’s. He loved jazz, especially the saxophone.

Anthony will be remembered for his reputation as one of the most highly skilled embalmers in the State of Maryland, but he will also be remembered for giving his support to the community in various causes and lending a helping hand to anyone who needed it.  He will be sadly missed by all who knew and loved him.

Anthony leaves to cherish fond memories: his wife of 56 years, Marlene G. Ward of Crisfield; four children, Hope (Warren) Ward Austin of Sicklerville, NJ, Anthony E. (Denean) Ward, Jr. of Pocomoke City, Valerie (Mark) Martin of Princess Anne, MD, and Leon E. (Kendra) Ward of Crisfield; 13 grand-children, Whitney, Paige, Jaina, Chasely, Anthony, III, Le’Niya, Glenn, Jr., Alexandria, Neko, Jodi, Brittany, Joel, and Ebony; two sisters, Ann Brown of Ft. Pierce, FL and Sylvia (Howard) Ward of Salisbury; a brother-in-law, Lyle (Cordelia) Gray of Washington, DC; seven great-grandchildren; a best friend, Dr. H. DeWayne (Louise) Whittington of Marion Station; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, and friends.

In addition to his parents, a daughter, Antonia Jones- Carter, and a sister, Dorothy Mae Jackson, have also preceded him in death.

Two public viewings will be held Friday, April 6, 2012 from 1-3 p.m. where friends may call at Anthony E. Ward Funeral Home in Princess Anne, Maryland and also from 6-9 p.m. at St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Crisfield.  At 7 p.m. ceremonial rites wil begin by the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Crisfield Pride Lodge and Union Masonic Lodge 33 F & A.M. in that sequence.  The funeral service will begin on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 1 p.m. at Crisfield High School in Crisfield, Maryland where friends may also call two hours prior.   The Reverend Bess McCallister will be the officiating pastor.  Interment will be in Hopewell United Methodist Church Cemetery in Crisfield.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made in memory of Anthony E. Ward, Sr. to the National Parkinson Foundation, 1501 N.W. Ninth Avenue, Miami, Florida 33136; or St. Paul A.M.E. Church P.O. Box 208, Crisfield, Maryland 21817.  Professional services are in the care of Anthony E. Ward Funeral Home and assisted by Lewis N. Watson Funeral ome, PA in Salisbury, Maryland.


2 Responses to “Anthony E. Ward, Sr., Founder of Anthony E. Ward Funeral Home”

  • Vic Sample:

    I want to express my greatest respect and honor To the Ward Family. If there is ever a commemoration that will place a name anywhere in Crisfield or anywhere in the State of Maryland it should be in the name of, Anthony E. Ward Sr., because I can only describe Anthony Ward to be truly an Eastern shore icons. As a little child I took notice of how he displayed the significance of doing what he set out to do. I can go back to the Elroy Wilson funeral home in Baltimore and I can recall Mrs. Annie Hearn, I believe she was his first body in Crisfield, as he started off on his journey to become among the best in the business, and that he truly he was. Anthony Ward gave his all whenever he could. Now that the time has come to let Anthony go home I want to say to him, Mr. Ward please make sure they leave the light on for me over at the Crisfield section of Heaven were we shell meet again. To the Ward Family, I love you and may God be with you always and forever more.

    Victor and Selene Sample.
    Godwin, NC

  • Sheila Brown-King:

    I would like to express my sincere sympathy to Mrs. Marlene, Hope, Tony, Leon and all the of the Ward family. Mr. Anthony truly was a great inspiration to the Crisfield community. I am so grateful for all the kindness Mr. Anthony and Mrs. Marlene have shown during the loss of our loved ones through the years. It could not have been an easy task to lay to rest those in the community who you knew so well, but Mr. Anthony did it all with such a caring spirit and a very high level of professionalism. We will truly miss your presence in our community Mr. Anthony. Now our Heavenly Father said it”s your time to rest. May you rest in the loving arms of the Only True and Living God until we all meet again. To the Ward family, May God Bless you and keep you in his care and May his love be your greatest comfort.

    Sheila Brown-King
    Sutton/Brown Family
    Crisfield MD

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