April 7, 1930 - May 1, 2020
Freeport, IL -- Jean Margaret (Arndt) Ward, age 90, peacefully passed on Friday, May 1, 2020 at home in Freeport, IL, where she resided with her daughter, Jane, and son, Jim. Jean Margaret was born in Madison, WI on April 7, 1930, the second of two daughters of Henry Robert and Mary Ellen (Gorman) Arndt. Jean moved to Peoria, IL at age 6, and attended St. Mary's Academy, Nauvoo, IL - Class of 1948. Jean married James Leroy Ward on May 21, 1949 in Peoria. They raised their family in Cicero, IL. Their children were Jane Lee Ward, Jerome Michael Ward, and James Joseph Ward. Two children, Joyce Ann Ward and Matthew James Ward, both passed at birth.
Jean worked for 20 years as Secretary in the Dean's Office of Morton East High School. Through the years she shared her many musical gifts and talents playing piano/drums/sax, dancing tap/ballet, teaching baton, organizing shows, creating routines, teaching choreography, and directing the Morton East Drill Team. For many years, Jean and Jim shared the piano and a song monthly for the Veterans at Hines VA Hospital. Jean also served a term as President of the West Suburban Jr. Women's Club, and many years as Editor of the "A. D. Log" for Atlantis Divers of LaGrange, IL YMCA. Jean and Jim retired to the home they built on Washington Island, WI, where they enjoyed many years. Jean also enjoyed crochet and cross-stitch, and during her years of retirement she became known as the family "Genealogy Lady" as well as the "Doll House Lady," building many detailed and beautiful little homes.
Jean is survived by daughter, Jane; and son, Jim, both of Freeport, IL. Also surviving are her sister, Lucille (Arndt) Umstead; brother-in-law John Michel Ward; four grandchildren by her son, Jerry; and among them eight great-grandchildren. Jean's life was also blessed by a very large and very loving family of cousins, nieces and nephews. Jean was preceded in death by her parents; husband, James Leroy in 2005; and son, Jerry in 2006. In her own words, Jean "lived a long and blessed life".
Arrangements were handled by Walker Mortuary of Freeport, IL at walkermortuary.com. Jean's chosen charity memorial is Little Sisters of the Poor at littlesistersofthepoor.org. Due to the national virus restrictions there can be no Visitation, and internment will be private at Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in Hillside, IL.