Cover photo for James Spencer Ward's Obituary
James Spencer Ward Profile Photo
1940 James 2023

James Spencer Ward

October 23, 1940 — January 4, 2023

Anyone who knew Spencer could tell you that he had a limitless capacity to love, and he showed it in countless ways. He was always there to offer a listening ear and advice to his loved ones during times of trial or struggle. He would often share poems and experiences he collected throughout his life to teach and inspire others. Spencer loved to make others smile and was especially known for being a friendly tease, especially with his many loving grandchildren. A life full of rich experiences, a strong work ethic, and an abundant love of family shaped Spencer into the wonderful man we all know and remember.

He was born on born October 23rd, 1940, to Golden Clifford and Emma Louise Spencer Ward. Along with his siblings Joseph Golden, Richard Allen, Mary Louise, Lorene Kay, Carol Dawn, Ryan Dell, and Kenneth William, Spencer was raised on a ranch where he learned the value of work and developed a love for nature, the mountains, and the bounty this earth offers.

He loved working with the animals and spent a summer herding the Ward-Clark sheep with his horse and little dog. He went to school at Malad High in Idaho, and enjoyed all the academics, and especially mathematics. While at the high school, he enjoyed playing basketball on the school team and playing the trombone in the band. After a year of college, he served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Central Atlantic States Mission and was very blessed in helping many come to a knowledge of the gospel and be baptized. After his mission he continued completed his bachelor’s degree in Education at Utah State University, majoring in Mathematics and Music, working part-time to support his studies and his family. Upon graduation, Spencer taught mathematics in the Cache County School District for several years. Later, Spencer received the blessing and honor of being one of forty selected for a National Science Foundation grant that funded his master’s degree and gave him a living allowance at the University of Utah where he graduated with distinction and honor. From there, he went to Las Vegas and taught at Clark High school during the daytime and at the University of Nevada Las Vegas at night. After teaching a year in Nevada, he came back to Cache County school district and taught mathematics at South Cache Junior High School. During this time, Spencer and his friend Kent Jensen developed the Cache Nickel want ad paper.

The final step in Spencer’s education was completing his advanced degree in administration from Idaho State University, giving him the opportunity to be involved in administration. As the first principal of Mountain Crest High School, he helped set up and organize the school. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, he was designated to represent the northern part of the state of Utah on the Northwest accrediting board of colleges and secondary schools. After being involved in education for 32 years, he retired on his beloved homestead in Cache Valley, enjoying activities and hobbies he developed throughout his life, like studying, gardening, and cooking. In his garden, he cultivated all sorts of fresh vegetables and to harvest, eat, and share, especially at family gatherings and cookouts.

Spencer loved and cherished his dear family. It was during his junior high school years that he first met his beautiful wife, Ida Arline Bjorkman. She was an exceptional dancer and there was hardly a dance that went by that he and Arline didn’t attend. He was grateful for his wonderful companion who always shared her love and concern in all that he did. As life presented many problems to be solved, Spencer and Arline would work together to face the challenges and find joy in the journey together. Spencer and Arline raised eight successful, caring, and diligent children: Valerie (Daniel) Smith, Jennifer (Robert) Durtschi, Loren (Shauna) Ward, Michelle (Brigg) Neilson, Emmaly (David) Nielson, Nolan (Allison) Ward, Brian (Taryn) Ward, and Heather (Darin) Palmer. He was a loving husband and devoted father, grandfather, and great grandfather. As a father and grandfather, he created many special memories for his kids and grandkids and always enjoyed the time they spent together. His greatest joy was his family.

Throughout his lifetime, he willingly gave time and service to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints. He felt blessed to serve in many different capacities, such as a Bishop twice, as a Stake President, and in many other assignments, including teaching Gospel Principles and serving as a diligent home teacher. He was the first Stake President of the Hyrum Utah North Stake and had the opportunity to be involved in the building and dedication of two new buildings. Spencer had a strong testimony of the gospel and was always willing to explain and verify the truthfulness of the gospel by using his extensive knowledge of the scriptures along with his deeply rooted testimony. Spencer and Arline served in South Africa on a mission for the LDS church, where they coordinated the seminary and institute program and taught the seminary and institute teachers for two years. They also served as temple ordinance workers in the Logan Temple. In both his church service and his work in the schools, Spencer enjoyed his association with other people and sincerely appreciated the support of those with whom he served. He could hardly go out without running into former students or associates and having a friendly chat about the fun times they had. He will be deeply missed by his loving family and by the many others with whom he crossed paths on his journey through life.

Viewings will be held on Sunday, January 8, 2023 at Allen-Hall Mortuary, Center Street, Logan, UT from 6-8 pm and Monday morning at the Hyrum North Stake Center prior to the funeral from 10:30 to 11:30am. Funeral Services will be held at 12 noon on Monday, January 9, 2023, at the Hyrum North Stake Center, 245 Apple Drive, Hyrum, UT 84319. The internment will be in the Hyrum City Cemetery.

Compiled and adapted by Kieren Smith McCord (granddaughter) per request of Grandpa Ward and using his comments and personal history on 26 December 2016.

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In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Humanitarian Fund of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
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Spencer Ward (1).m4a

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