Peacefully, with family by his side, on Tuesday October 25th, 2022, Russell Arthur Ward passed away at the Portage District Hospital at the age of 93 years and 8 months. Russell was born in Portage la Prairie on February 10th, 1929, the fifth born child of Edward and Nellie Kate Ward. He grew up on the shores of Delta Marsh with his 4 older siblings: Peter, Joan, Eileen, and Tory; as well as his younger siblings; Sheila and Beulah.
Many stories have been told of the swimming from the May to September long weekends, hunting in the fall and seasonal fishing adventures with his siblings or school mates while growing up in the area. After completing grade 8, Russell landed his first job with a construction company. At the age of 20, after a series of jobs, Russell became a Game Warden and caught the eye of Wilna Hiebert while she was tending the St. Ambroise store owned by her parents. That first meeting turned into love, and they were married on August 16, 1950, where the union of more than 66 years produced 5 sons: Lyle (Karen), Aitkin, MN USA; Peter (Mary Ann), Pelican Rapids, MN USA; twins Blaine and Brian (Eileen), Winnipeg MB and Craig, Yarmouth, NS. His world revolved around his girl, Wilna, and his boys, while always staying connected to his hunting and fishing roots formed from growing up at Delta.
Early in their married life, Russell and Wilna started out in a small home in St. Marks, moved to Winnipeg for a new job, and then moved again to a wild rice farm in Minnesota. They returned to St. Marks in 1974 where Russell and Wilna shared duties of cattle farming as well as guiding, cooking, and maintaining the St. Ambroise Shooting Shack for throngs of hunters during the height of hunting season. It was during this time in his life that Russell joined up with his brother Tory as a wood carver producing hundreds, if not thousands, of duck decoys and shore birds native to the Delta March. A skill he has passed on to his sons and others who were willing to watch and learn. Once retired from cattle farming, Russell and Wilna moved into Portage la Prairie where they enjoyed a more relaxed way of life spending time having coffee with friends or attending auctions in the area, it also allowed Russell to enjoy even more time hunting (deer, duck, turkey, goose), fishing (summer and winter), as well as becoming an avid archer.
Russell is predeceased by his wife Wilna, his infant son Blaine, his parents, all his siblings, as well as numerous brothers and sisters-in-law on both sides of the family. Russell is lovingly remembered by his four sons and their wives, 10 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild, sister-in-law Phyllis Davis, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. A special thank you goes out to Kathy Fidler, Terry and Bob Neufeld as well as the home care staff, for all the care that Russell received in his later years.
The Memorial Service for Russell Ward will take place of Saturday, November 12th, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. at the Stride Place Rotary Multi-Purpose Room, on Island Park, Portage la Prairie, MB. Burial will take place at the St. Mark’s Cemetery, Saint Marks MB.
Donations in memory of Russell A. Ward can be made to Saint Marks Anglican Church, memo - cemetery fund C/O 15 Alderbrook Rd. Winnipeg, Manitoba R2N 3W6 or CancerCare Manitoba 675 McDermot Avenue, Room ON1160, Winnipeg, MB, R3E 0V9 or donate online at www.cancercarefdn.ca
To leave messages of condolence to Russell’s family, please visit www.ronaldmoffitmemorialservices.com.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to Ronald Moffit Memorial Services of Portage la Prairie, MB.