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Philip Ward, Jr.

Obituary of Philip Henry Ward, Jr.

Philip Henry Ward, Jr. a long time resident of Sterling, joined his wife of 65 years, Marilyn, after passing peacefully at his winter home in Jupiter Florida on July 6, 2020, at the age of 88. Phil was born in Sterling to parents Philip Sr. and Edith Ward, and attended Sterling Township High School before graduating from the University of Illinois and the University of Illinois Law School, second in his Class in 1955. He then served as a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Air Force, retiring at the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in 1957, before joining his father’s, grandfather’s, uncle’s and cousin’s law firm, Ward & Ward. Phil often spent 7 days a week practicing law earning the title of “Best Lawyers in America” for Trust and Estate Law by Best Lawyers. He was an invited member of American College of Trust and Estate Counsel for over 35 years and served as a member of its Business Planning Committee, its Transfer Tax Study Committee, and its State Laws Committee. He was active in the Illinois State Bar Association, having served as chairman of its Real Estate Law Council, its Corporation and Securities Law Council, and its Trust and Estate Law Council. Phil also revised and updated his father’s book, Ward on Title Examinations, first published in 1942. Phil was an elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Sterling and sang in its choir for over sixty years. He spent six years as a member of the Sterling District 134 elementary school board. He also served on the board of the United Way, Greater Sterling Development Corporation, Sterling Junior Chamber of Commerce, and the Sterling Gyro Club, of which he was elected president. He was also a member of the Elks Club and a long time member of the Free and Accepted Masons. Phil enjoyed world travel with Marilyn, and was an avid skier, tennis player and in 2010, underwent extensive back surgery so that he could continue playing golf. This past February, his final drive at the 9th hole went past the green. He enjoyed Tuesday and Wednesday dinners with his friends, and was disappointed that Covid-19 prevented his return to Sterling this past summer. In 2016, Phil was hospitalized for four months, twice battling back from pneumonia, respiratory intubation, septic shock and sepsis, before Cleveland Clinic doctors were able to rehab his health and return him home. Phil was being treated for leukemia and was on the mend from a recent fall when his big heart seems to have worn out. Phil is survived by his three children Robert, Philip and Susan, Robert’s wife Patty and daughter Christa, Philip’s wife Pam, and their children Cathleen (husband Paul) and Ben, and Susan’s husband Craig Underwood and their three daughters Alexa, Sami and Nikki. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, a gravesite service will be private, and a celebration of Phil’s life will be held when it can be done safely. Memorials have been established to the First Presbyterian Church of Sterling and the Sterling Schools Foundation. Memorials may be sent to Schilling Funeral Home at P.O. Box 592, Sterling, IL 61081 and will be forwarded to the family. Condolences may be sent to