“To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord”
Reverend Russell D. Ward, age 71, of Watauga County, NC was born on May 8, 1948 and went to be with our Lord on June 15, 2019.
Russell married Naomi, his loving wife of 51 years, at the Mountain Dale Baptist Church in NC in 1968 and was drafted into the Army. The young couple lived their newlywed years in Kaiserslautern, West Germany where they were introduced to the Ministry to the Military which would end up being a legacy of ministry that continues today through their three children, eight grandchildren, and countless spiritual children. Russell graduated from Lee College in Cleveland, TN in 1974 with a B.S in Bible with pastoral emphasis and began following God’s call into ministry.
Russell’s lifelong ambition was to lead others to Christ. He faithfully preached Christ and Christ crucified and taught his children to love God and others. He served as an ordained minister of the Church of God for 46 years pastoring the Mountain City Church of God, the Wurzburg Christian Servicemen’s Center, the Frankfurt Servicemen’s Center, the Townsend Church of God, the West Nashville Church of God, the Panama Christian Servicemen’s Center, and the New Vision Church of God in Johnson City, TN.
It has been said of Russell that his ministry was a “mixture of love, boldness, hard work, mentoring, correcting, affirming, and modeling. It was never about him, but about lifting up Jesus so others would come to love, trust, and serve Him.” His way was like the Apostle Paul’s who said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” As a result, Pastor Ward always left a capable core of disciples to continue and expand the work of the Kingdom.
Russell was preceded in death by his parents, Annie Hannah Ward and Lonnie Alvin Ward; his brothers-in-law, Len Cornett and Rick Farley; his sister-in-law, Lois Farley; and a niece, Tonya Nicely. He is survived by his loving wife, Naomi; his son, Russell D. Ward, II (Jennifer); his daughters, Valarie Ward Durham (Neal) and Patricia Ward Nichols (Jimmy); grandsons, Wesley Nichols (Megan), Nathan Nichols (Kaylee), John Nichols, Jeffrey Nichols, Austin Durham, and Grant Ward Weston; granddaughters, NaomiFaith Durham and Evelyn Grace Ward. He is also survived by his sisters, Betty Cornett, Peggy Nicely (Jim), and Stella Chambers (Darrel) and his brother, Harley Ward; mother-in-law, Nell May of Neva, TN; sister-in-law, Joyce May Harrelson (Mac); brothers-in-law, Bill May and Ricky May (Teri Lynn); and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services for Russell will be conducted at 6:00 PM Monday, June 17, 2019 in the New Vision Church of God, Division Street, Johnson City with Dr. Dennis McGuire, Rev. Randy Barr and Pastor David Vanoy officiating. The family will receive friends at the church from 4:00 PM until the service hour. Graveside services with Military Honors accorded by the Carter County Honor Guard Detail will be conducted at 10:00 AM Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in the Mountain Home National Cemetery. Pallbearers will be selected from the family and friends. For those attending this service you are asked to meet at the cemetery by 9:50 AM.
Condolences may be made online at www.wadugger.com. Woodall-Anderson and Dugger Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 108 W. Watauga Avenue, Johnson City is serving the Ward family. 423-928-2245