Darrel Ward

November 22, 1924April 13, 2018
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Darrel (Dick) Ward died Friday, April 13, 2018, at age 93, in Spokane. He was born November 22, 1924 in Bismarck, North Dakota to Albert Eugene and Alice Felicia Lash Ward, the fifth child of seven. When Dick was 4, his mother passed away and the family stayed together for a few years. When his father’s work lead to talk of sending the children out for adoption, his Aunt Bertha and Uncle Henry Swindling took in the five boys and the two girls went to live with other family members. The boys enjoyed farming and growing up with the four Swindling children.

Dick started school in a one-room school about 4 miles from home. He walked or rode his horse to and from school with the usual races with other boys. He enjoyed school and always wanted to read whatever he could find that would increase his knowledge of the world around him.

About 1936, the family took a trip to visit Idaho and Washington. They were looking for a place to relocate and found Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. The family moved to the Northwest when Dick was to start high school in Moffitt, North Dakota. He wanted to graduate with his friends, so he bartered work on a neighboring farm for room and board during the school year. After three years, he had finished high school, but didn’t wait for his diploma. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, to fight in World War II. He served as an Infantry Scout from 1943 to 1945 in New Guinea Campaign where he earned medals as an expert marksman.

From a very young age, Dick rode horses, enjoyed hunting and fishing and spoke of hunting with a gun, on horseback, riding bucking horses at rodeos and working with his brother Don on a sheep ranch out of Heppner, Oregon. Several summers were spent in a variety of jobs in the Northwest.

When Dick returned to Spokane, he needed a few credits and graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane. He had been accepted at the University of Washington, but he met Erma Louise Oldenburg at a dance in Spokane. He decided this was one lady he wanted to get to know better and couldn’t leave such a beauty behind. To court Erma, he enrolled in trade school in Spokane. After graduating from trade school, Dick worked as a journeyman in Spokane until he earned his Electronic Technician Certification.

Dick and Erma were married in Clarkston, Washington on November 6, 1948. Initially, they settled in Spokane where they were both working, but an opportunity came up for Dick to practice his vocation in a smaller shop, so they moved to Coeur d’Alene. In 1951, Dick bought the business and renamed it Lake City Radio and TV. He sold primarily Motorola products, but serviced all makes and models. In 1964, he and Erma bought the building and property on East Sherman in Coeur d’Alene and in 1988 they retired and closed the business.

Dick and Erma worked 6 days a week at the business, but managed to join bowling leagues, the Democratic Party in the area, keep up with both of their families and travel all over the western United States. Dick also belonged to the North Idaho Fly Casters Club and they spent time visiting streams in the Northwest, looking for just the right water. He was also a competitive runner and in his last Spokane Bloomsday Run, he placed in the top 25 for his age group. He was 85!

He is survived by his wife, Erma Oldenburg Ward and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by parents Albert and Alice; and siblings Melvin Ward, Bette Bell, Arthur Ward, Donald Ward, Doug Ward and June Clary.

Viewing will be open on April 23, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., services at 12:00 p.m. at Thornhill Valley Chapel, 1400 S. Pines Road, Spokane Valley, Washington. Following a short graveside service adjacent to Pines Cemetery, a late luncheon will be served at the Thornhill Valley Chapel. Memorial donations may be given to the Coeur d’Alene Union Gospel Mission or the National Alzheimer’s Association for Alzheimer’s Research.


  • Charles Oldenburg
  • Lloyd Gill
  • Patrick Ward
  • Terry Morgan
  • Dusty Moller
  • Neil Brown


  • Visitation Monday, April 23, 2018
  • Funeral Service Monday, April 23, 2018
  • Committal Service Monday, April 23, 2018
  • Reception Monday, April 23, 2018

Darrel Ward

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1938 Front row, Dick and Doug Ward


On the farm in North Dakota


1933 School again!


1937 Don, Dick and Doug Ward


Dick, Don and Doug


Don, Dick and Doug


Back, Dick and Doug
Front, Art and Don


Enlistment Photo 1943


Married November 6, 1948