Joan "Murph" Ward

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Joan Ann “Murph” McLaughlin Ward, 75, of Prosperity, died Saturday, July 10, 2021, at her residence.


Born on August 3, 1945 in Arlington, MA, she was the daughter of the late William and Marge McLeod McLaughin. Murph was a 1963 graduate of Arlington High and a 1967 graduate of the University of Massachusetts. She married the love of her life, Clyde Ward in 1966.


She and Clyde lived in Seaford Delaware from 1966 - 1977, where she taught 2nd grade and served as the President of Jane Sees (Junior Chamber of Commerce). She was a charter member of Seaford Presbyterian Church and enjoyed sailing outings with the family on the Chesapeake Bay as well as camping with friends.


She lived in Aiken, SC from 1977 - 2006 where she was an active supporter of the Aiken Heartfund Show which benefited the American Heart Association. She taught 5th grade at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Aiken, SC for many years. She knew how to educate. She saw the individual potential in every child and was their strongest promoter. She enjoyed playing doubles tennis and outings on their houseboat on Lake Thurmond. Many special years were spent at swim meets for the kids, dinner parties with friends, and traveling with their children , especially their month long trip to the western US.


In 2006 Murph and her husband retired to Prosperity SC on Lake Murray where they enjoyed many years of boating and jet skiing on the lake with family and friends. Each summer the grandkids, and bonus grandkids, came to stay for weeks with Nana and Papa. Murph and Clyde took their grandchildren on special trips to explore different cities in the United States. 


Murph taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School at Wightman United Methodist Church in Prosperity and later at Advent United Methodist Church in Simpsonville. She found purpose and joy in supporting Service Projects at both churches.


Fond memories of Murph as a “Nana” include attending every grandchild and bonus grandchilds events such as gymnastics competitions, cheer-leading competitions, band competitions, art exhibits, soccer games, softball games, chorus concerts, graduations and much more. She applied sunscreen and Band Aids. She knew how to have fun as well as how to use “time out”. Nana always had the necessary lake items on hand for bunk bed forts and stomp rockets, Mentos and soda. She enjoyed sending text messages, emails and giving gifts to the all of the grandchildren. Her specialties were a mean spaghetti sauce (with just the right zip), Nana tea with just the right lemon and sugar, brownies and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. She knew how to dance ( even winning a shag dance contest), play card games and sew Halloween costumes.


She liked coffee in the morning, red rose tea in the afternoon and wine in the evening, all best served on the porch with friends and loved ones. On Saturdays in the fall you would find her drinking coffee and watching Gameday to get ready for college football. She liked chocolate covered cherries at Christmas (the kind with the clear filling),  fresh peaches in summer, fresh bread and cheese always. 


She especially enjoyed sending birthday and holiday cards to family and friends. Whether it be St. Patrick’s Day or Halloween, every child had a card from Nana in their mailbox. 


She was kind, her positivity and attentiveness made others feel at ease. One of her greatest joys was seeing her family and friends happy themselves. Throughout her life, she valued friends and family and working with children.  


She knew how to love and was loved by so many.


Murph is survived by her husband of 53 years, Clyde Ward; son, Keith Ward (Julie) of Jupiter, FL; daughter, Tracy Ward Smoak (Russell ) Travelers Rest, SC; brothers, William McLaughlin, Jr. of Billerica, MA and Dennis McLaughin of Shalimar, FL; grandchildren, Grayton Ward of Lakeland, FL, Evan Smoak of Travelers Rest, SC, Madison Ward of Jupiter, FL and Carmen Smoak of Travelers Rest, SC. She was predeceased by brothers, Gerald McLaughlin and David McLaughlin


Memorial services will be held at 3:00 pm Sunday, July 25, 2021, at Advent United Methodist Church in Simpsonville, SC by the Rev. Michael Turner. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, PO Box 1741, Greenwood, SC 29648 or Advent UMC, 2258 Woodruff Road, Simpsonville, SC 29681.


Those attending the service are encouraged to dress casual. 

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#19 Mindy Armstrong 2021-07-25 11:08
I just learned of this and I’m sad to read of it. Although I haven’t seen her in many years, Murph left an indelible mark in me by her kindness, her spirit, and her peace. We met at Wightman and she ended up becoming my Sunday school teacher. I’ll never forget some of the lessons and discussions we had in that class, things that had real meaning even if sometimes uncomfortable. It took someone like Murph to be able to understand where people were coming from and speak to them where they were, as they were, despite how very different we all were. Although she isn’t here any more, she left behind a lot of people who are better because of her. May God be with you, Clyde, and with your family.
#18 Sharon Kaisen 2021-07-25 10:37
Although I never met her, I know how much she was loved by all and her well written obituary shows the type of special person she was. Sending hugs through the internet to let you know I care. Julie’s cousin Sharon from upstate NY
#17 Steve & Lisi Tibrea 2021-07-24 22:14
Dear Clyde and family,

Our deepest sympathy on your loss. We are fortunate to have known her through Clyde and his work at SRS and high school robotics. A beautiful person inside and out whose influence on her students and family will have a long lasting impact. May you find comfort in these positive thoughts as you remember her and her beautiful legacy.
#16 Viki Moore Hydrick 2021-07-24 00:36
Clyde and family, I am so sorry for your loss. I know this is a great loss for many. Murphy was such a light for Jesus! She and Clyde were my Sunday school teachers at WUMC and such a great example of joy in the Lord and have such a gift of teaching all ages! God bless you all with peace and comfort.
#15 Brandon & Jessica Back 2021-07-19 10:18
We are so deeply saddened by the loss of our sweet Murph. We met Clyde & Murph at our New Member Class at Advent and instantly had such a special connection. Murph was always such a sweet blessing to us every Sunday morning at church and we will truly miss her. She loved seeing our little girl, talking about sports and always taking such a special interest in our lives. She was so incredibly special - our deepest sympathy to Clyde and your entire family.
#14 Art and Katy Osborne 2021-07-16 13:44
Deepest sympathy to Clyde Tracy and Keith. Murph was lovely caring soul. She will be missed and moat fondly remembered. Our loss is Heaven’s gain.
#13 Joyce Stanley 2021-07-16 09:51
Clyde and family,
My sincerest condolences on your loss of Murph.
She was a pleasure to work with at Kennedy
Middle School and always displayed kind words
to others and had a caring heart for all she met.
She always had a smile on her face. Prayers for
you all.
#12 Fred Warren 2021-07-15 18:31
My deepest condolences to Murph's entire family, especially Clyde. She was always a brilliant flash of humor and camaraderie when we chanced to meet while serving in the trenches of Kennedy Middle School in Aiken. Teachers never die, they are just reassigned to a different faculty. Until the next staff meeting.
#11 The Kinard Family 2021-07-15 10:12
Mr. Clyde and family,
We were so saddened to hear of Murph's passing. She was so very kind, caring, and thoughtful. We feel blessed to have known her. We hold very fond memories of our time together at Wightman, and our children still treasure her many cool science experiments at VBS over the years. We will continue to keep you all in our thoughts and prayers.
Kevin, Johnette, Ashlyn, Braxton, and Jayden Kinard
#10 Anne and Eric Strapp 2021-07-14 19:29 are one lucky man to have had Murph in your life. She was a wonderful person!!!!! And will be missed by all. Anne and eric
#9 Jennifer Campbell 2021-07-14 00:08
Clyde, I am so sorry. Murph was so loving and kind to me and Joel and our boys during our time at Wightman. I have sweet memories of going to your house after church. She was always so welcoming and made us feel so at home. You and the children and grandchildren are all in our prayers.

Jennifer Campbell
#8 Ed and Elizabeth Skinner 2021-07-13 18:54
So sorry for your loss. Praying for
peace and comfort.
#7 Greg 2021-07-13 04:19
I remember Mrs. Ward as my neighbor when I was a little kid. The grown-ups called her "Murph". I'm glad I had the opportunity to talk to her at the 50th anniversary of our Seaford church. My condolences to Clyde, Keith, and Tracy. She was a wonderful person.
#6 Dennis McLaughlin 2021-07-12 23:57
I am her younger brother. It seems she got her nickname from when dad got home from work she used to tell everything that was going on in the neighborhood and dad used to say so what’s going on mrs Murphy. I sure will miss my sister and wish I kept closer contact with her my sincere condolences to curly and the kids
#5 Anne Louise Shelton 2021-07-12 12:37
She was a joy and a blessing to all who got to know her in big and small ways. What joy and life you both brought to Advent. May her memory bring you and all who loved her strength and joy.
#4 Rhonda Johnson 2021-07-12 06:14
Prayers for the peace of Christ to flood your soul, the love of God to fill your broken heart, and His presence to sustain you until that “glorious day”.”
I was SO blessed to be a recipient of Murph’s love of teaching Sunday School and sharing her brownies and chocolate chip cookies! A moment with Murph was as sunshine on a cloudy day! Continued prayers for you all.
#3 Shelby Felker 2021-07-11 20:47
I'm so dumbfounded. Murph was supposed to live forever but God had the plans mapped out just for her. Blessings to Clyde and her children and to all who loved her. Rest easy my friend. God knew what he was doing with you. Love Shelby
#2 Marie and Dewey Earwood 2021-07-11 20:25
Ward family
Our prayers are with each of you .
Murp was such a beautiful lady that touched so many of us .
We will cherish the memories she helped us make.
#1 Charles & Debra Weatherly 2021-07-11 10:55
Mr Clyde and Family,

We are saddened to hear of your loss. May God be with you, comfort you and strengthen you during this time.

1724 Main Street, Newberry, SC 29108 - 803.276.0610