Sidney ‘Sid’ John Ward Jr.

Sidney “Sid” John Ward Jr., 78, of Jay passed away unexpectedly but peacefully Aug. 24, 2020, at his home.

The “Chairman of the (Cutting) Board” was born June 16, 1942, to Sidney Ward Sr. and Agnes (Richards) Ward. He graduated from AuSable Forks High School in 1960 and completed his B.S. in Business Administration in three years at Babson College. He married Janet Garrecht June 30, 1962, at Jay Methodist Church before his final year at Babson, and they were blessed with two children and four grandchildren.

During his childhood, he could be found in the millwork shop with his grandfather Ezra Richards and uncles Bill and Leonard Richards, who taught and tolerated his first attempts to create something of scraps of wood.

Upon his father’s passing in 1970, he and his brother Bill became owners of Ward Lumber, with their mother, who began working there upon her marriage to Sid Sr. Janet joined the operation in 1966, and they retired in December 1997. As third-generation owner of Ward Lumber, he and Janet worked at the family business for decades and transferred the management of the business to their sons Sidney “Jay” III and Jeffrey upon retirement.

Retirement proved to be too relaxing as he continued to rise at dawn and sought the interaction with friends and the community. After “leading the charge” to create the Thrift Shop at the Whiteface Community United Methodist Church and working there for 10 years, Sid began making cutting boards from recycled wood in his wood shop at home. What started as two days a week at the Riverside Thrift Shop in Wilmington turned into five days a week, picking up items at homes, expanding the store’s structure and clearing the receiving bay each morning. But while the mind was willing, his body was telling him to slow down, and he turned his attention to creating cutting boards from recycled wood.

Sid’s first sale was at the Keene Valley Congregational Church in 2001, with the sale of 20, and that grew into more than 1,100 a year in 2015. He set a goal to create 10 boards per day in the summer months from a variety of woods such as Adirondack ash, cherry, maple, red birch, oak and bird’s-eye maple, plus roasted walnut and Brazilian cherry. He created boards in 20 shapes and sizes, ranging from traditional rectangles and circles to animal shapes such as moose, mice, fish, cats, pigs and lobsters.

Each summer the sales of his cutting boards generated funds for local nonprofits such as fire departments, libraries, churches, North Country Life Flight, AuSable Valley Habitat for Humanity, North Country SPCA, school trips and other programs. His belief in Habitat for Humanity extended to his being construction foreman for three local Habitat homes.

Sid was a member of various organizations and the recipient of many awards. In 1981, he received the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America. In 1992 he was named the Northern New York Lumber Dealers Lumberperson of the Year. In the late 1990s, Sid received Honorary Life Membership to the Northern Logger Association, where he was a longtime board member president and chairman. He also became an Honorary Life Member of the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association in 2000, and was a longtime member and former treasurer and commissioner of the Jay Volunteer Fire Department. Sid was also a longtime member of the AuSable Forks Rotary Club, with perfect attendance for many years, and was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. He was also a longtime member and board member of LMB Advantage (formerly ENAP). Sid was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, attending services in Jay, Wilmington and Orlando, Florida.

Preceding Sid to Heaven are his parents; brothers Kenneth A. Ward and William. J. Ward Sr.; and his in-laws Kenneth and Jean Garrecht. Surviving Sid are his wife of 58 years, Janet G. Ward; sons and daughters-in-law Sidney “Jay” Ward, III and Julie (Loane) Ward, and Jeffrey A. Ward and Marie-Anne (Azar) Ward; granddaughters Mollie L. Ward, Lucy A. Ward, Charlotte A. Ward and Camille A. Ward; sisters Mary L. Smith (James) of Merritt Island, Florida, and Martha L. Ward of Waterford, Ohio; and sister-in-law Kate Ward of AuSable Forks; plus cherished nieces, nephews and cousins.

A private family memorial service will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 5 at Thwaits-Zaumetzer Funeral Home in AuSable Forks. A stream will be available for the Labor Day weekend service for family, and friends to participate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The video will be available after the service for on-demand viewing.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Sid’s memory to a local fire department or library of personal choice.

Arrangements were entrusted to Thwaits-Zaumetzer Funeral Home in AuSable Forks.