James Ward

KANKAKEE — James Lee Ward Jr., nicknamed “Jr.” or “Ward,” age 73, of Kankakee, passed away March 20, 2020, at his home.

He was born Sept. 11, 1946, in Kankakee, the son of James Lee Sr. and Sara Hawkins Ward.

James Jr. was a Kankakee High School graduate with the class of 1965.

He served our country proudly in the U.S. Army doing his basic training at Fort Polk, La., with Company E Second Battalion and being honorably discharged.

James was a track laborer for the Union Pacific Railroad for 23 years.

He had married Melvina Halbert Ward on June 17, 1988, in Kankakee.

James was a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan.

Surviving are his sons, Aaron Edwards, of Springfield, Michael (Elizbeth) Smith, of Georgia, Raymond Wilson, of Ohio, Gearl Halbert and Anthony (Cierra) Williams, all of Kankakee; his sisters, Laura McCain, of Lockport, and Bessie Hollis, of Kankakee; his brothers, Preston (Jerry) Ward, of Sun River Terrace, and William Ward, of Kankakee; 27 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, other relatives and friends.

Preceding him in death were his parents; wife; brother, Otis Ward; sister, Elizabeth Ward; nieces, Shiela Ward and Steffani McCain; brother-in-law, Nelson McCain; aunts, Laura (Nathaniel) Love, Emma Hawkins, Mariah Hawkins, Mary Hawkins, Reather Hawkins and Edna Stevenson; uncles, Edward Hawkins Sr., George (Cora) Ward, Fred Hawkins and Odis (Rosa) Hawkins.

There will be no public visitation. Private family graveside services will be Friday, April 3, in Mound Grove Gardens of Memory, Kankakee, with Pastor Carl A. Randle Sr. officiating. A public memorial service will be at a later date.

Please light a candle at jonesfuneralhome.com.

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