Merle D. Ward Jr., a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend, passed away on June 16th, 2023 at the Community Hospice Truman House in New Philadelphia, Ohio. He was surrounded by his loving family and the care of hospice.
Merle was born on February 17th, 1945 in Strasburg, Ohio to Merle D. Ward Sr. and Rebecca Morris. He grew up alongside his late siblings Floyd Ward, Larry Ward, Rodney Ward, and Glenda Foster. As a young man, Merle served in the United States Army Reserves before beginning his career as an engineer in the research center of the Timken Company in North Canton. He worked there for over 38 years before retiring in 2001.
When Merle wasn't working hard at Timken, he could often be found indulging in his passion for classic cars. He was especially proud of his meticulously restored 1966 Ford F-150 which won numerous awards at car shows. Merle was also a member of the NRA (National Rifle Association) and B&A Primitive Weapons Club. He also loved spending his time outdoors fishing, hunting, camping, and bow hunting with his grandchildren and close friends.
Merle was a man of faith and a member of the Strasburg Lutheran Church throughout his life.
In his free time, Merle loved to attend sporting events and school activities for his grandchildren - Austin, Landry, Madelyn, Kaitlyn, Abigail, Marli, Jerrod, Maci, and great-grandson's-Xander, and Declan - whom he adored immensely. They will always remember their grandpa's unending love and support.
Surviving him is Linda Welsch Ward - Merle's cherished wife. Together they raised three daughters: Michelle (Daniel) Hostetler of Dover; Lori (Dan) Midgley of Broadview Heights; and Amy (Scott) Willoughby of Strasburg. He is also survived by his sister Betty and Gary Whiteman of Virginia, and a large extended family.
Merle's memory will be cherished by all who knew him. His legacy will live on through his family and those whose lives he touched.
Friends are invited to call at the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home & Crematory of Strasburg on Wednesday, June 21, 2023 from 5:00-7:00 pm. A celebration of Merle’s life will be held at the funeral home on Thursday, June 22, 2023 at 1:00 pm with Pastor Jason Rissler officiating. Immediately following the service, a meal will be served in the funeral home’s reception facility which is located downstairs. Burial will take place at a later date at Grandview Union Cemetery in Strasburg. To sign an online guestbook for Merle, visit the obituary link on the funeral home’s website.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Community Hospice Truman House, 716 Commercial Ave. SW, New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663.