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I have been having memory FLASHBACKS of various people over the past two weeks. Don’t know what is causing it but when it happens I try to reflect.
The other day I was driving thru the Tanglewood neighborhood on Barker Street in Lumberton, NC and had a FLASHBACK. It happened as I drove by the former home of the late Dr. D.E Ward Jr.
If you live in Lumberton, NC you probably need no introduction to D.E Ward. Or maybe you do. If you have never had the privilege to met D.E while he was with us you don’t know what an amazing man and what an amazing life he lived and how he loved to serve others. He died at the age of 98. He was married to the late Sarah Dockery Henry Ward for 73 years.
On January 31, 2011, a month after his 90th birthday, Dr. Ward retired from the practice of medicine after 57 years of service to Lumberton, NC. Some of you reading this are not 57 years old. Fifty-seven of his 98 years he spent doing what he loved being a doctor in Lumberton NC.
After graduating from Wake Forest School of Medicine, Dr. Ward interned for a year at the Philadelphia General Hospital, and then served our country in the U.S. Navy Reserve. After returning to Wake Forest and finishing his residency, Dr. Ward became a surgeon in Lumberton in 1953, where he has lived until he died. In those 66 years he impacted our community.
Over the 57 years he practiced medicine his patients (including my own son), employees, and colleagues praise him as courteous, professional, kind, and one of the best doctors and best people they know. They also will tell you that he truly cared about making our world a better place.
I loved the fact that Dr. Ward volunteered for 22 years as Lumberton High School’s football, baseball, and basketball team doctor.
In 2008 I called him up and asked him if he wanted to come out and watch the NCAA Softball Regionals that UNC Pembroke was hosting. At the time D.E was 88 years old and full of excitement for life. He agreed to come out and while he was watching the game he told me how much he enjoyed serving the coaches and kids at Lumberton HS.
D.E. also has been recognized by numerous civic and medical organizations for his contributions, including receiving the Order of the Long Leaf Pine–North Carolina’s highest civilian honor–in 2001 and the Wake Forest Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004. He was a regular fixture at Lumberton Rotary Club meetings each Tuesday afternoon.
D.E commitment wasn’t just to Lumberton because he had a great affection for Wake Forest University. He was a life trustee for Wake Forest, and served on the alumni associations of both Wake Forest and the Wake Forest School of Medicine. His sons Demming and David are graduates of Wake Forest and the School of Medicine and the School of Law respectively. Four of his grandchildren have all attended Wake Forest.
For some people having a FLASHBACK is the equivalent of a nightmare. For me it made me smile and realize the impact one person can have by living a life of service.