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WARD, Gerald G. "Jerry"

WARD - Gerald G. "Jerry"
Inventor, entrepreneur and resident of Naperville for 51 years, passed away peacefully on his 88th birthday, in Oakland, CA, surrounded by his wife and children. Jerry was born in Buffalo and attended the Burgard Vocational High School, where he learned engineering skills. He worked at Bell Aircraft in Buffalo and Georgia, designing military aircraft, before joining the U.S. Army in 1944. Jerry met the love of his life, Sarah Jane Henderson, during the war, when his army buddy and future brother-in-law, Marvin Jennings, suggested that the two start writing to each other. After a wartime letter-writing romance, Jerry traveled to Sarah's home in Canton, IL, to meet her. He saw her sitting on the porch swing, and it was love at first sight. They were married in Canton in 1946. After working as an aircraft engineer for three years, Jerry was employed as an engineer and manager at the International Harvester Company from 1949-1980. During that time he was awarded over 20 patents for designing innovative farm equipment such as the automatic trip plow and the flex-frame trailing plow. Later Jerry and his brother, Eugene Ward, of Buffalo, formed the Line-Ward Corporation. The two brothers-who had built kayaks, soap box derby cars and model airplanes together while growing up-joined forces to design, patent, manufacture and sell a cable-laying machine that revolutionalized how telephone and cable TV companies installed their service lines. In 1959, Jerry, with his wife Sarah, designed and built a passive-solar home on 2.5 wooded acres in Naperville, IL, where they raised their three children. In 2002, Jerry and Sarah placed a conservation easement on their land to protect their land, trees and wild flowers for future generations, through the Conservation Foundation of Naperville. Jerry is survived by his wife of 65 years, Sarah Jane Ward; three children, James Ward, Linda Egenes and Cathy Ward-Salaiz; two grand- children, Carina Salaiz and Liana Salaiz; and a sister, Diane Deinzer. A private memorial service will be held on July 14 at Agesong at Lakeside Park in Oakland, CA, where Jerry and Sarah lived for the past year, only a few miles from their daughter Cathy and family.

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