Mary Sam Smith Ward
Military, Educator, Author —
AN AUTHOR, EDUCATOR AND historian, Mary Sam Smith Ward, devoted her life and her talents to her family, her community, her state and her nation.
A native of Clark, Mo., Ward was class valedictorian when she graduated from Middle Grove High School in Monroe County in 1929. She taught grade school and put herself through Northeast Missouri State Teacher’s College (now Truman State University) in Kirksville. She graduated in 1935 and from there propelled herself into an extraordinary life of teaching, research, writing and great service to others.
With the outbreak of World War II and a call for women to serve in the armed forces, Ward applied for the first Officer Training Class in the brand new Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). Of the more than 500 women who applied in St. Louis, she was one of only eight chosen and represented Randolph County. She successfully served, and ended up in Washington D.C. at the Pentagon, where she met and married Lt. Col. George B. Ward, Jr.
Ward earned two master’s degrees from the University of Delaware, one in American studies in 1968 and the other in social studies in 1973. She wrote many articles for newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals and was the co-founder of the Delaware Press Women in 1977. She was also 1979 Delaware Mother of the Year.
Ward was one of 27 outstanding women from around the United States named as ”Women of the Millennium“ by the National Federation of Press Women in September, 2000. This recognition was for her lifelong role as a leader who made a substantial contribution to the advancement of women in education, communications professions and to society at large.