Oklahoma City, OK
May 23, 1936 – Feb 5, 2020
Dr. David Ward passed away on Feb. 5, 2020, in Oklahoma City. David was born on May 23, 1936, in Pauls Valley, to Charles Edgar and Josephine Margaret Ward. He attended grade school in Pauls Valley. The family moved to Ardmore where he graduated from Ardmore High School in 1954. He attended Oklahoma City University as a music major. He was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. David began his music career as a trumpet player in Ardmore and at OCU changed to alto saxophone. He began composing in earnest at OCU and had works played by the band and Oklahoma City Orchestra. He graduated with a bachelor of music degree in 1959, and the Honor Society of Pi Kappa Lambda.
David then attended graduate school at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. He received an assistantship in which he played in the Eastman Saxophone Quartet and directed the student band. He received his master of music degree in composition in 1961 and began studying for his Doctor of Musical Arts degree as a composition major. During his time at Eastman, he played in the Eastman Wind Ensemble under the direction of Fred Fennel and is on many Wind Ensemble recordings. In 1965 Dr. Ward was awarded his Doctorate of Musical Arts.
He taught music theory, applied woodwinds, Jazz band, 16th Century and 18th Century Counterpoint, composition, music appreciation, and music history at the following colleges and universities; Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City, and Nazareth College of Kentucky, Nazareth, Ky. At Cameron College, Lawton, he was the Jazz Ensemble Guest Performer. He became the head of the Music Department at the College of Artesia, Artesia, N.M. In Maryland, he taught at Prince George’s Community College, Largo, Md., and Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, Md. In addition, he taught at the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, and Southern Nazarene University, Bethany.
David married Marcia L. Newlin on Aug. 17, 1969. And they moved to Artesia, N.M. In 1972 Dr. Ward was inducted into the United States Navy by direct procurement under Admiral Elmo Russell “Bud” Zumwalt. He enlisted as a musician chief. He began as Head Composer/Arranger for the Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Md. He became Head arranger and Composer-in-Residence with the United States Navy Band, Washington, D.C. He served there for 12 years and then returned to the Naval Academy Band For another 7 years, for a total of 21 years of service at his retirement in 1993. Dr. Ward arranged and composed music for public concerts and recordings with both bands.
Dr. Ward’s publications include An Abstract for Alto Saxophone And Piano, Southern Music Company, and an arrangement of Casuals: hymne aux Nations Unies (Band Arrangement) commissioned by the United Nations in 1985. Among his compositions are National Geographical Survey March, Concert Piece for Alto Saxophone and Band, “Cannery Row” for Orchestra, and the Score from Arizona Memorial Film on view at the Arizona Memorial National Park, which was recorded by the U.S. Navy band.
In 1993, David retired and he and Marcia returned to Oklahoma where they lived in Edmond for 24 years. In 2017, they moved into assisted living at Legend at Council Rd. Oklahoma City, following David’s lengthy illness of dementia. David and Marcia celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2019.
David is survived by his loving wife, Marcia, his brother, Joe Ward, his sister-in-law Marilyn Walker, his niece Julia Matulis and husband Jeremy, and children Dylan, Madelyn and Mason.
Donations may be given to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Memorial service will be at Demuth Funeral Home at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020.
Posted online on July 17, 2020