Jewell (Bruce) Ward passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, at Gainesville Health and Rehab Center in Gainesville, Texas, at the age of 79 following a lengthy illness. Per Jewell's wishes, her family held private vigil and services at the time of her death and her body was cremated.
Jewell was born February 26, 1937, to Isom J. and Callie (Mikel) Bruce in Lone Star, Oklahoma. She was the youngest of seven children. She attended Central High School in Wichita, Kansas, and studied accounting at University of Oklahoma. On July 23, 1953, she married the love of her life Jack E. Ward. They had three children, four grandchildren, and six great grandchildren during their 63-year marriage.
Jewell was a very accomplished and talented woman. She held numerous jobs throughout her working years. As a young teenager she worked as an usher at the local movie theater and loved getting to see all of the movies. Jewell grew up to become as beautiful as any movie star both inside and out. She was a deeply spiritual being. After marrying Jack, she became an Army wife and worked as a clerk at various hospitals in Honolulu, Hawaii, and later in Wichita, Kansas. Living in Gainesville and Ft. Worth, Texas, Jewell took secretarial work and sold Sarah Coventry jewelry. After they moved to Oklahoma, she was a secretary at Standard Life Insurance in Oklahoma City before taking a payroll job at John A. Brown department stores where she ultimately retired in 1984 as the Accounting Manager.
She had many hobbies and tried her hand with numerous artistic endeavors including oil painting, ceramics, cake decorating, sewing, and so much more. Jewell made most of her and her daughters' clothes. She sometimes spent weeks beading formals for her daughter to wear for a single prom. After retirement, Jewell took in sewing at her home in Yukon, Oklahoma, and quickly became known as the best seamstress in the Oklahoma City area. If someone could dream it, Jewell could create it. She sewed everything from priests' vestments to elaborate wedding gowns. Always the over achiever, she once made the bride's gown, the bridesmaids' dresses, the wedding cake, and the flower arrangements for a single wedding. Jewell's fried shrimp was the best in the world and her Christmas thumbprint cookies and French silk pie were legendary among the family members. She always had a houseful of guests because her cooking was so spectacular.
In addition to being a devoted wife and mother, Jewell was an amazing Grammy. All of her grandchildren have wonderful memories and favorite stories about their Grammy. There were also many of her children's friends who still consider Jewell to be their second Mom.
Jewell eventually developed a love of quilting and made many beautiful, and even some prize-winning, quilts. She was active with the Common Threads Quilt Guild in Gainesville for many years and served a term as their president. She made quilts for family members, her dentist, disaster survivors, "old folks" and CASA kids. Jewell's giving nature extended to frequent blood donations because she had universally accepted blood. She was always ready to help anyone in need.
Survivors include her husband Jack, daughter Suzan, son Mark, granddaughter Sommar, grandsons Brandon, Grant, and Joshua, sister Helen, numerous nieces, and many other loved ones. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, her brothers Carl and Jean, her sisters Betty, Beverly, and Katherine, and her own daughter Karen.
The family invite those who knew her to share a toast and fond memory of Jewell to celebrate the life of this truly wonderful woman. Please visit her Facebook page Jewell Ward.
Published on January 11, 2017