It is with great sadness that the family of Mildred Ward announces her passing on May 26, 2022, at Rainycrest Long-Term Care Home.
Millie, as she was known by everyone, was a quiet and generous soul who gave much love and affection to her large circle of family and friends – and received it back during her long and happy life in Fort Frances.
Millie, 93 years old at her passing, will be deeply missed by her sons Doug (Frances), Jim (Sandra), Tom (Cheryl) and Greg (Jennifer).
She is also survived by her grandchildren Ariel (Brad), Anna, Dan (Holly), Marek, Paige (Brett), Cody (Sierra), Ciara (Bill), Sydney (Christian), Greg (Trish), Amanda (Travis), Dana and Tanner (Laura) – and 15 great-grandchildren.
Millie will also be remembered by her youngest sister Cheryl Lafond; sisters-in-law Marjorie Smeeth and Violet Lawrence; and brother-in-law Don Ward (Sybil). Her passing is also mourned by many nieces, nephews and their families and good friend Jan Ward.
Millie was pre-deceased by her husband of 68 years Stanley Ward; sisters Eunice Gillespie and Donna Williams; and brother Roy Hendrickson. She was also predeceased by sisters-in-law Donna Hendrickson, Joan Ward, Elsie Ward, Olive Eisenhauer, Gladys Kerr; and her brothers-in-law Frank Williams, Bruce Gillespie, Albert Ward, Leslie Ward, Robert Ward, Sidney Ward, Irvin “Ike” Eisenhauer, Don Kerr, Charles Lawrence and Bert Smeeth.
Millie, the third oldest of five children, was born on October 26, 1928, to Nels Hendrickson, a Swedish immigrant, and his American-born wife Minnie. She grew up in the family home in Berglund, Ontario, where her dad worked mostly as a fishing guide on the Lake of the Woods and her mom as a cook at fishing camps.
Millie attended high school in Fort Frances and after graduation worked at the local Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. She soon met Stanley Ward, a handsome young war hero who had only returned from Europe a few years earlier, where he had been a prisoner of war after his RCAF plane had been shot down.
Her new husband worked at the pulp and paper mill office in Fort Frances. The young couple began raising a family and would spend most of their married life in their new house on Third Street East. Millie enjoyed her role as homemaker to four boys through the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Her neighbourhood was full of young families and Millie made lifelong friendships with many other parents on her block.
Her kids ran wild in the nearby bush, played hockey at the Memorial Arena and nearby outdoor rinks and spent many summer days at Point Park, taking swimming lessons and then lifeguarding. Millie worked for a few years at the Esquire Shop and was a busy member of the Eastern Star, Kiwanis Club and was a lifelong member of the La Verendrye General Hospital Auxiliary. But it was the boys that took up most of her energy. She made sure they got to school on time with their homework completed. She was a regular spectator at her kids’ hockey games at the Memorial Arena and later those of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Millie and Stan spent many happy summers at their cabin on Dude Island across from Bears Pass Bridge, where they were regularly joined by their children and grandchildren. Perhaps, Millie’s happiest times were fishing quietly with Stan in their boat, maybe with a child or grandchild along. Didn’t matter if they caught many, just being there together was special.
Millie and Stan spent a few winters in the southern U.S., but Millie missed her many grandchildren too much to be a regular snowbird. She was always there for her grandchildren, providing lunches and moral support.
Eventually, Stan and Millie left the house where they had raised their family and moved to a condo with a wonderful view of Rainy River. There they enjoyed sitting in front of the TV and watching hockey, golf, curling and the news together. They were regularly visited by children and grandchildren who couldn’t resist Millie’s casseroles and endless pots of tea – and her reserved warmth.
Throughout their adult lives, Millie and Stan regularly attended Sunday services at Knox United Church. A funeral service for Millie will be held at the church on August 19, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. The honourary pallbearers will be her grandchildren.
If desired, in memoriam donations may be made to the Knox United Church or Rainycrest Long Term Care Home.