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Hamilton Ward IV, 87, state litigator, ran 26 marathons

March 20, 1931 – Dec. 25, 2018

During his long career as a top litigator with the New York State Department of Law, Hamilton Ward IV often passed by the portraits of New York’s attorneys general – including his grandfather – Hamilton Ward Jr.

And in the hallways of State Supreme Court in Buffalo, Mr. Ward would also encounter the photo of his father – Hamilton Ward III – the late administrative justice of the Eighth Judicial District. His family and its deep roots in the New York State legal system always served as the guiding principles of his long career, said his brother, Chuck.

“For him, it was a special point of pride,” said Chuck Ward, retired editor and publisher of the Olean Times Herald. “He always knew he was part of a special family.”

Mr. Ward, a veteran attorney who also was an accomplished marathon runner and outdoorsman, died on Tuesday in Buffalo General Medical Center from complications of a stroke. He was 87.

A Buffalo native, Mr. Ward graduated from Nichols School in 1949 and Hobart College in 1953. He later earned his law degree at the University at Buffalo Law School, while clerking in the Buffalo office of the Ward, Gorman and Marx firm. He was admitted to the New York bar in 1960.

After several years in private practice, Mr. Ward was appointed an assistant attorney general in 1963 by Attorney General Louis J. Lefkowitz.

He then began a long stint as trial lawyer for the Department of Claims and Litigation, trying and settling suits against the state in the Court of Claims in Buffalo and Rochester.

Later, he continued in the Court of Claims as clerk to John H. Cooke, presiding judge in Western New York. He continued under Judge Thomas P. McMahon until retiring in 1983. Mr. Ward then partnered with Robert H. Kutzuba in private practice in Arcade, and was recognized by the Erie County Bar Association for his 50 years of membership.

Mr. Ward will also be remembered as an accomplished runner, competing in 26 marathons (including four Boston Marathons), and many triathalons throughout the eastern U.S. – including running or cycling alongside his son and daughter during several events.

Mr. Ward enjoyed skiing, hunting and fishing, especially his annual expeditions to Piscotossing, Ont.

His wife, Ann, whom he married in 1985, died in 2016. During retirement they traveled throughout the country and world, including a 1990 trip to Germany to visit relatives.

Besides his brother, Mr. Ward is survived by a son, Hamilton V, and a daughter, Susan Ward-Freeman. A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday at Beach-Tuyn Funeral Home, 5541 Main St., Williamsville.

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