Richard Franklin Ward, formerly of Atlanta, passed away December 12, 2023 at the home of his son and daughter-in-law, Derek and Gina Ward, in Hull, GA. He was 81 years old.
Richard was born in 1942 to Franklin Monroe Ward and Sarah Gulley Ward in Decatur, GA. He attended Decatur High School, class of 1960. He was an accomplished musician, playing piano, violin, and various brass instruments, and enrolled at Furman University on a music scholarship.
He then enlisted in the Army and was trained as a Ranger, subsequently serving in Vietnam as a member of The 82nd Airborne. Afterwards, he returned to Atlanta where he graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1970. While still at Georgia State he took a position with First National Bank of Atlanta eventually becoming the Vice President of the credit card fraud department of Wachovia. After retirement, Richard worked as a writing tutor at Dekalb Perimeter College.
Richard married Cleo Berry, the love of his life, in 1979 and they resided in the Atlanta area until 2007 when they built a home in Colbert, GA on rural acreage next door to his son and daughter-in-law and their family. The move also afforded him closer proximity to his extended family in Elberton, GA. During their happy years in Colbert, prior to Cleo’s death in 2020, Richard and Cleo made their home a hub for extended family and friends who frequently visited from around the country.
Throughout his life Richard was an avid reader of literature, especially of the novels and short-stories of Mark Twain, and he loved to entertain family and friends by reciting from memory poems by Robert Frost, Robinson Jeffers, and other American poets. He was also an impressive amateur historian, having read widely in American presidential and military history, and could give detailed accounts of important battles and political scandals, along with colorful descriptions of the persons involved.
Richard is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Derek and Gina Ward, his sons David and Jason Ward, his step-son Curtis Hulbert, his grandchildren Ally, Trudy, Calvin, and Jamie Ward, Elizabeth Farrow and Bella Hulbert.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date to be announced.
Those wishing may sign the online guestbook at www.berryfh.com.
Berry Funeral Home & Crematory of Elberton, GA is assisting the family.