Brigadier General Ward Morehouse LeHardy, USA (Ret.)
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December 27, 1934 - April 18, 2019
On Thursday, April 18, 2019, much beloved Ward Morehouse LeHardy of Kilmarnock, Virginia and Kiawah Island, South Carolina, passed away peacefully at his home in Kilmarnock, surrounded by his family.
Ward was born in Annapolis, MD in 1934 to Navy LT Louis Marcel and Sara Morehouse LeHardy. Just days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, he along with his mother and sister, Linda, boarded a ship in Hawaii bound for California. Sadly, his father died in combat a year later, while serving as a staff officer aboard the USS San Francisco, during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Sara LeHardy raised her two children in Coronado, California, where Ward came of age. When it came time for him to enter college, he surprised many by selecting West Point over the Naval Academy, joining the Class of 1956 at the United States Military Academy. While at West Point, he met Judy Powell Nevins. They were married in November of 1956 in Alexandria, VA, and a 62 year romance ensued.
Ward served in the Army proudly for 32 years, during which time the family household moved 28 times. Unaccompanied duty stations were Korea (1957) and Vietnam (two one-year combat tours: the first as a military advisor in 1962 and the second with the First Cavalry Division in 1967). Other tours of duty included Japan, Germany, Italy, the Canal Zone in Panama and several posts in the United States.
He took great pride in forming and commanding the 3rd Battalion (Airborne) 509th Infantry in Mainz, Germany, and transferring the whole unit, including families, to Vicenza, Italy in 1974, where it became the only U.S. Airborne unit in Europe.
He was proud to be a member of the 101st Airborne Division, serving at Fort Campbell, Kentucky twice; once in the 1950s, and again in the 1980’s as commander of the Third Brigade (Air Assault) and later served as chief of staff of the Division.
Ward was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in 1984. After his retirement from the Army in 1988, the LeHardys settled in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Ward’s life included a love of the sea. He embarked on his boyhood dream of visiting the area where his father was killed when he and Judy set out to sail around the world in 1991. Aboard their trusty 39-foot cutter Cormorant, they set sail from the dock at West Point during the class of 1956’s 35th reunion. What followed was an epic five-year adventure that included a stop 50 years later, to the minute, at the precise location where Ward’s father lost his life in the Solomon Islands on November 13, 1942. Later, to document and share their trip with others, Ward and Judy co-wrote a book entitled Once Around.
With their great voyage behind them, they moved to Kilmarnock, Virginia in 1998. Their beautiful waterfront home, would ultimately become a 20+ year stay (their longest by far) and the site of many joyous family gatherings.
He was instrumental in the fundraising for and building of Light of Christ Anglican Church in Heathsville, Virginia. Ward’s in-depth involvement in the 10-year effort to shift from Episcopal to Anglican inspired him to put together a book, entitled Strong at the Broken Places, detailing the transition and incorporating the thoughts of many church members that were part of the process.
Ward was also an enthusiastic member of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Georgia.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Judy and their children: Sally Barstow (Mark), Ward Jr. (Debbie), Marcel (Nancy) and Peter (Becky), as well as his sister, Linda LeHardy Sweet. He was extremely proud of their fifteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Ward was loved and respected by classmates, family and friends. He expected to live to the age of 101 in honor of his beloved 101st Airborne. At 84 he was a young-at-heart adventurer to the end.
‘Granddad’ was a source of inspiration, dedication, self deprecation and illumination. He was a beacon on earth for those of us seeking light and humility. One of his final statements was, “I love people.” He did. His family is eternally grateful for his love; he will be sorely missed.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 4pm at Light of Christ Anglican Church, 9500 Northumberland Highway, Heathsville, Virginia 22473. Graveside services with honors will be held at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland on Friday, July 12, 2019 at 11am.
Memorial contributions may be made in Ward’s name to Light of Christ Anglican Church.