Woody Funeral Home-Atlee Chapel

9271 Shady Grove Road, Mechanicsville, VA


Sybil Ellen Ward

April 26, 1934October 5, 2019

Sybil Ellen Ward was the daughter of the late Linda and Emmett Ellen. She was preceded in death by the father of her children David A. Ward, her brother William Ellen, and two grandchildren Aliyah Belle Renfrow and Alexander Prentiss Ward. She is survived by her children Karen Scapellato (Dan), Pamela Renfrow (Jim), and David A. Ward, Jr. (Sharon). She is also survived by her sister Jean Marshall, her brother Emmett Ellen, and her grandchildren Dylan and Emily Renfrow, Gina Scapellato, and Abigail Ward.

Sybil Ellen Ward was born Sybil Grey Ellen on April 26th, 1934 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. She grew up in the country with her two brothers and sister, and often spent summers at an aunt and uncle’s plantation where she worked the fields, harvesting tobacco. She later moved with her family to the Richmond, Virginia area where attended and graduated Hermitage High School.

After graduation, she went to work in Richmond at City Hall and worked there for many years. After that, she lived in Colorado for a time before returning to Richmond and marrying David A. Ward. Together they had three children, Karen Paige, Pamela Ann, and David Alexander, Jr. She devoted much of her time to being a loving mother who always put the care and enrichment of her children before her own passions, of which she had many.

Sybil enjoyed spending time at the beach collecting shells and at the “rivah” with family, where she spent time swimming, boating, and enjoying all that the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers had to offer. In particular, she was crazy about the local oysters, even going so far as to often make oyster pancakes for breakfast—an acquired taste that some of her children and grandchildren have yet to acquire.

Being a woman of an artistic and creative nature, she loved getting lost in novels both classic and contemporary, and was skilled at both painting and photography. She was a lover of animals large and small and enjoyed bird watching, whether it was with her friends or roaming the woods of her home in Hanover or just watching out of the window with binoculars in hand.

She was also a talented seamstress and her skill with needle and thread ensured that her children never wanted or expected store-bought costumes for Halloween. From Minnie Mouse and the alien E.T. to the authentic slip dress and stockings of a 1920s flapper, and many other costumes in between, there were no limits to her considerable talents.

As it happens, neither Santa nor the Christmas holiday escaped her crafty gaze, and she often spent months crocheting works of art, making ornaments, and crafting personalized Santa figures for her family--all wrought by her skilled hands and meant to be passed from one generation to the next.

Later, when she became an owner and manager of Stillmeadows Farm, she was an avid and tireless supporter of her daughters’ horse show competitions. Every weekend, she would get up before the crack of dawn to drive them (and drag certain others) to horse shows all over the state and beyond.

During her time at Stillmeadows, she was a beloved “barn mom” to many, from the children who took lessons and competed to the staff and helpers, all of whom she thought of as family. She tried the riding bit a time or two but didn’t care for it. For her it was strictly a spectator sport, although she could deftly wield a pitchfork and muck a stall or throw hay with the best of them.

After retiring from the barn, she spent time visiting with and taking pictures of her grandchildren. When not riding up and down the highway between Florida and northern Virginia and Richmond, she enjoyed quiet time at home gardening, cooking, and doing crossword and jigsaw puzzles that would stump a bona fide genius. And as anyone who ever had the opportunity to play Scrabble with her can attest, she was a formidable and lively opponent, never afraid to take a chance or have a laugh at her own expense during a game.

She spent the final years of her life ensconced in family, seeing friends as often as she could, and always enjoying the company of both. In her 85 years, she touched and changed and shaped too many lives to count. She will be greatly missed by many, but her memory will be forever cherished by all who knew her.


  • A celebration of life Saturday, October 12, 2019


Sybil Ellen Ward

have a memory or condolence to add?

Susan Hurley

October 11, 2019

I have very fond memories of Aunt Sybil and time spent with her. I hope that your memories will be of some comfort to all of you during this time. I plan see you at the service.


Marylou Espinosa

October 9, 2019

Dear Karen,

I’m thinking about you at this sad time. I’m praying for you to get the strength from God during this challenging time. Your mom will always be with you, looking after you from heaven.
With sympathy,

Veronica Porrata

October 9, 2019

Dear Karen,
You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.
We want you to know you are in the hearts of those who care and love you.

With our deepest condolences,
Carlos & Veronica Porrata

Jean Woodson

October 9, 2019

David, Karen & Pam,
Your Mom was a dear friend for so many years and I will miss her. We shared so many happy times and a few sad ones too and she was always there when you needed someone to just be there. May all your wonderful memories you share help you through this difficult time and know that she was loved by so many and we are all better for having had her in our lives.
Jean Woodson

Leslie Morris

October 7, 2019

Dear Karen, Pam and David and your families,

Edie and I are just 2 of the many barn kids that will never forget your mother. She was a wonderful lady that touch so many lives. I can remember many a day sitting with her in her office and just talking about life. She even opened her home to me and I stayed in Pam's room while the apartment above the barn lounge was being built. There were a few nights of babysitting David, so I hope I helped out a bit... My cooking wasn't exactly stellar when I tried to help by cooking a meal. I always felt like part of the family. The Stillmeadows years will always be a fond memory for me and your mom was a big part of that.
I will always be grateful that I got to visit with Sybil at the 30 year barn reunion. Please know that I am thinking of you all and I hope that time and prayers will heal your hearts.