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Nickerson Funeral Home

87 Crowell Road, Chatham, MA

OBITUARY

Michael H. Ward

July 1, 1944July 30, 2020

Michael H. Ward, age 76, died peacefully at home on July 30th, 2020. Born July 1st, 1944, he was the beloved son of the late A.J. Ward and Anna Mary (Murray)Ward.

Mike grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and eventually moved to Boston before settling full time in Chatham. Mike taught English at the college level for several years. In 1980 he became a certified Transactional Analyst and was a psychotherapist in private practice until his retirement in 2014.

Mike was a generous human being and dedicated activist, beginning with the early gay rights movement in the 1970’s. Mike worked as a volunteer for the AIDS Action Committee in the 1980's during the height of the AIDS epidemic following the loss of his partner Mark Halberstadt. He wrote a poignant memoir about this relationship, The Sea is Quiet Tonight, which was published in 2016.

Mike was instrumental, along with author Adam Mastoon, in creating The Shared Heart, a book of photographs and stories that chronicled the lives of 40 GLBTQ youth. Both this and his memoir provided inspiration and guidance for countless GLBTQ adolescents and adults. He was also dedicated to the work of the Franciscan Nuns of the Christine Center in Wisconsin. He served on their board of directors and worked tirelessly to raise the funds needed for a new chapel. Mike was proud of his 29 years of sobriety; a shout out to all his PAUSE buddies of Orleans, MA.

Mike is survived by his loving husband Moe Melchiono and cat Jack. He is also survived by the following siblings: Joe, Dan, Jeanne, Judy, John and wife Erin, and Jeff and wife Allegra; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother Tom, and in-laws Pat (Joe Ward), Carmen (Dan Ward), Chuck (Judy Milner) and close family friend Joan Martin. The family also acknowledges the deep compassion and care of friends Rosanne Annoni and Richard Hunt, Mike and Moe’s adopted Cranberry Cousins, the Bartlett Family, and our goddaughter, Lily Olin.

A memorial service to celebrate Mike's life will be announced at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Mike's memory may be made to "Mercy Beyond Borders" at http://www.mercybeyondborders.org attention Sister Marilyn Lacey. For online condolences, please visit www.nickersonfunerals.com

Services

No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

Michael H. Ward

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Amos Lassen

August 6, 2020

I will miss my friend Mike as will Temple Sinai in Brookline where he was our Rainbow speaker. I didn’t know Mike long but I quickly learned that he was a wonderful writer and a solid guy—- a man I was proud to call my friend.

Nancy Gannon Hornberger

August 5, 2020

This great man, my therapist many years ago in Cambridge, helped me to set my life in a positive course and to heal deep wounds. Blessed be, Michael Ward. You have left a loving imprint on many of us and we will miss you always.

Cecilia Sussek

August 5, 2020

Mike - always a smile followed by a laugh - your emotional strength was outstanding- you will be sorely missed by many ♥️

Kristina Skarbinski

August 4, 2020

To Mo and Family,

Sending all of my love and condolences. I am so sorry to hear about Michael's passing. Thinking of you all during this difficult time.

Kristina Skarbinski
(Former Co-Worker of Mo at BCH)

Deborah Haynor

August 3, 2020

My first impression of you, so very handsome, so warm, so smart, so kind. That first supervision group…was it with Sally Ann Roth? I was just out of graduate school, still reeling from growing up in my family with my Mensa brother. You were a wonderful improvement, pronouncing me smart about what mattered most to both of us.

Autre chose.

You talking about your life with Frank…you seemed to be already a grown up while I felt I was still a kid.

The red dress party, you looking fabulous.

The 80’s, meeting Mark and Ed, too, and Richard and Patrick…growing up way beyond your years…being with them as they fell ill, and eventually died. Your big heart so broken. I remember asking you once how you did it…you said you cried…

Then you finding Moe, and me finding Joyce. Long conversations about these loves that felt so right, so deep, so lasting.

The Busy Bee.

So many conversations about our work, our clients, interspersed with updates about our lives.

Zelig’s.

Laughing, so much laughter, sometimes at the expense of others, but mostly not.

Our client asked me today if I had any ideas about how to honor you. I told her that she honored you every day that she lived the life she now had. I told her that you saw inside her a little fledgling self that needed love beamed its way before it would have the courage to emerge. I don’t know if I was talking about me or her. Or so many, many others who have basked in your love.

Go gently, my sweet Mike, you loved so big, you are so loved by so many.

jim summers

August 3, 2020

To Moe and family,
I am so sorry - Mike was such a beautiful and loving person and was so important in so many lives. I know I was blessed to have him in my life and as I have for years, will continue to be thankful for his kindness and amazing spirit. I can still hear that joyous laugh!
We were all so lucky to have had Mike in our lives.
My thoughts are with you all.

Bill Grogan

August 2, 2020

I was so saddened to hear of Mike's passing. As my therapist in the 80's and 90's I credit Michael with saving my life. It is not hyperbole when I say this. I was on the edge of ending things when I met him and over time he slowly walked me back from that edge. I went on to fulfill my dreams and follow the road I was destined to follow. Michael saw in me attributes that I could not see in myself. I know there are many similar stories from his other clients as well. He was well loved. Even after "Graduating" and moving away he was never far from me. I carry many of his words in my heart to this day. I wish him peace on his final journey knowing that he continues to live on in our hearts.

Patty Cortes

August 2, 2020

Dear Michael,
I will always miss your hardy, life-giving laugh and your compassionate and loving heart. Fly with the angels, my friend.
Now you have the answers.
Peetee

Ginny Hamel

August 2, 2020

Dear Moe,
My heart goes out to you.I can’t begin to imagine your very great loss.💔Ginny Hamel

Sheila Eldredge

August 2, 2020

MIKE was a kind, loving soul. A man of dignity, grace and humility. He helped so many. He will be missed. Heaven has another Angel. STEVE AND Sheila Eldredge.

FROM THE FAMILY

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