Popular Retired Teacher Passes Away

Popular Retired Teacher Passes Away

Patrick O’Connell Ward, longtime resident of Holtville, California left the world on December 13, 2016, to join his parents, Aileen and Thomas Joseph Ward as well as his older brother, Joe Ward.

He loved his community and always found joy in talking about how this place was once the former carrot capital of the world. Born on October 24, 1948, into a large Irish Catholic family of 11 brothers and sisters.

Patrick’s siblings would describe him as an affectionate sweet boy who was a sports fanatic. After graduating from high school he joined the U.S. Navy from 1969 – 1973 where he was stationed in places like Guam and Hawaii. It was during this period that he met his wife, Catherine Ward. They were married in 1975 and went on to have three daughters.

Patrick earned his B.S. in Kinesiology from Chico State, Teaching Credential from San Diego State University and later returned to Chico State to obtain a Master’s Degree in Physical Education. His first official teaching job was at Holtville Middle School and he would remain at that school for his entire 33 year career teaching Physical Education. It was during his teaching career that he impacted an entire community who grew to know and love Coach Ward referred to affectionately as “Yogi.”

In 2010, Patrick retired and his life became dedicated to his granddaughters, volunteering his time refereeing, and spending time with his 95 year old motherin-law, Virginia Reed. He was also an active member of the Holtville Optimist club for many years.

A memorial fund has been established for the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Foundation and envelopes were available at the Rosary held on Wednesday, December 21 and at the funeral service on Thursday, December 22. Both events took place at St. Joseph’s Church in Holtville, California.

Patrick is survived by his loving family including his wife, Catherine; children, Kimberly, Jenny, and Courtney; son-in-law, John Higginbottom; granddaughters, Hailey and Hannah; as well as ten living siblings.

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