SAN LUIS VALLEY— Nancy Grace Childears Ward passed away Tuesday, July 23, 2019. She was born 80 years earlier on April 11, 1939, to mother Myrtice Childears and father Marion Childears in Colorado’s San Luis Valley farming community of Sargent.
She later was joined by two brothers: John and Don. Her parents raised the three in a farming and ranching environment in several Valley communities, specifically Center and then Saguache.
Growing up, she worked in hay fields, milked cows and did other ranch work. After graduating from Saguache High School, she married Jerry Ward (deceased). Nancy and Jerry raised two daughters, Susan Ward and Betsy (Ward) Foos in the Monte Vista area where they built a home west of town, and later divorced.
Nancy’s several careers included café owner at an early age, journalist and author, and business owner. She authored numerous feature articles published all over the United States, several cookbooks, history booklets and the humorous Official Bum and Hermit book. Nancy wrote for newspapers in Leadville and other towns, was editor of the Monte Vista Journal and worked at Adam State College. After working for the Farmers Home Administration in Monte Vista she was promoted and transferred to Grand View, Idaho, and later to Juneau, Alaska, earning her bachelor’s degree as she climbed the ladder.
She returned to Saguache where she owned and operated Mountain Maid Jelly and spent years traveling the western United States in her “tin cans” (various trailers and RVs). When she decided to retire, she followed her parents to Canon City, living the remainder of her life there.
She is survived by daughters Susan (Mark) and Betsy; brothers John (Maureen) and Don (Linda); and grandchildren Ryan (Annie), Coleman, Bo, Jesse and Jennifer (Jeremy).
At her request she was cremated; her ashes will be spread in the Colorado mountains.
Nancy’s legacy includes caring and caretaking, hard work, humility, humor, outdoors enthusiast, writer, cook and loving mother to her daughters. She faced many health challenges and never complained.
Honoring a life is a personal act unique to each mourner. If you care to honor her, donations can be made to Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado, 455 Sherman Street, #500, Denver, CO 80203. She will be missed by many.