Audrey M. Ward obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Audrey M. Ward

May 31, 1926 - May 13, 2017

Obituary


Audrey Mae Parks Ward was born May 31,1926 in Madisonville, Kentucky. Her mother Naomi Morton Parks was a piano teacher and her father Sherman Parks was a minister and the high school janitor born on the Island of Madagascar, located off the southeast coast of Africa. Her parents and grandparents were her biggest influence. She was the third of four siblings, Claudia Jenkins Ore, Dorthea Gardenia Cobbins, Vivian Morton Parks. In 1945 she left home to attend Clark College (now known as Clark Atlanta University) Atlanta, Georgia. She worked in the library every day after...

Audrey Mae Parks Ward was born May 31,1926 in Madisonville, Kentucky. Her mother Naomi Morton Parks was a piano teacher and her father Sherman Parks was a minister and the high school janitor born on the Island of Madagascar, located off the southeast coast of Africa. Her parents and grandparents were her biggest influence. She was the third of four siblings, Claudia Jenkins Ore, Dorthea Gardenia Cobbins, Vivian Morton Parks. In 1945 she left home to attend Clark College (now known as Clark Atlanta University) Atlanta, Georgia. She worked in the library every day after classes helping other students with their homework and research projects which is how she paid for her tuition, room and board and other living expenses. Audrey belonged to the dance club and was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She graduated in1949 with a bachelor degree in education and took a teaching position in Georgia. In the summer of 1951 she went to Chicago to visit her sister Dorthea. Her sister suggested she look for a teaching position at the Chicago Board of Education. She applied and was hired as a 2nd grade teacher. While working, she was accepted to the graduate program at the University of Chicago and received a Masters degree in Education, Personnel and Guidance in 1956. She became a high school counselor and decided to not go back to the classroom and remained a counselor until she retired after 38 years of service helping over 35,000 students. She was highly regarded among educators in Chicago. Her last school was Corliss High School. She was offered several principal positions but felt her calling was to be available to students helping them with educational goals and navigating through life and personal family issues she says that she would tell the children "I am here for you, but just do not tell me lies and we could get through whatever together" She had a special knack for recognizing the potential in a student and helping them see themselves as someone who could achieve their dreams. Sometimes she said the kids would get in trouble with the police and would tell them 'I want to see Mrs. Ward, my counselor". The police knew to bring those kids to her because they would tell her the truth. Audry married Alvin Ward, a psychologist in 1967. They were married for 43 years until his death. They did not have any children but loved their pet poodle Brandy as well as maintaining close relationships, with many of the children she cared for during her career. she loved and was especially found of her 2 nephews Audrey is survived by her sister Dorthea Gardenia Cobbins, two nephews Lawrence E. Jenkins and Herschel S. Cox their wives (Lois and Deborah) and 3 great nephews (Casey, Abe and Sam). When asked recently what she considered her greatest success she felt she was blessed to be able to go to college, work with children and have a great marriage. She has often stated, "Working with children is where you can make the biggest change, because they can still learn."
Audrey passed away peacefully on Saturday May 13, 2017 in Chandler, Arizona. A Memorial Service will be held in her honor on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 10:30am at Chandler Presbyterian Church; 1900 S. Arrowhead Dr. Chandler, AZ. She will then be laid to rest with her beloved Alvin at Valley of the Sun Cemetery;10940 E. Chandler Heights Rd. Chandler, AZ. To share a memory with Audrey's family please visit www.valleyofthesunfuneralhome.com.