I know the world doesn’t revolve around me, but I was a bit saddened to think that my mortuary of choice is being merged with another in Klamath Falls.
Ward’s was a place where I learned important lessons, in addition to trusting the owners for my mother’s final arrangements. I had imagined that Jason would take care of my final arrangements, too.
The merger with O’Hair’s brings two very reputable establishments together under one roof, but I am forever indebted to Jim and Jason Ward for their professionalism and dedication to the community.
Before Jason became my brother in Kiwanis service, his father modeled a sense of community I would hold ideal. During my stint a the Herald and News, a Native American toddler died from a rare pulmonary condition. Understanding the pain and suffering the family had already endured, Jim Ward would not charge them for his services. He saw no reason to profit from a family’s tragedy. Their ethnicity only matters, because they found some racism in dealing with other professionals. It was not a matter of consequence to Mr. Ward.
I was still reflecting on that lesson when Jason opened the family’s chapel for a service honoring a fellow Kiwanian. He thought it was wrong for the widow to be gouged for the use of a gathering room, and allowed the standing-room only crowd space to grieve and remember.
A few years later, I would visit the office and try to purchase a memorial book for Martha Anne Dow’s public service. Jim Ward refused payment and said for all Martha Anne had done for the community the least he could do would be provide a memorial book for her family.
Finally, in 2012, Jason helped me with my mother’s arrangements. Some in my extended family prefer another mortuary, but I knew the Wards and wanted the best for my mom. Jason walked me through the process, told me what needed to be done and was kind beyond words.
My spiritual belief is that death is not an ending, but a new beginning. I hope the merger is a new beginning for Jason and his family after four generations of professionalism and committed service to the community.