Cover photo for Joan "Murph" Ward's Obituary
Joan "Murph" Ward Profile Photo

Joan "Murph" Ward

d. July 10, 2021

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 grandchild s 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, G erald 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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