Elizabeth Osborn Ward Was Educator, Counselor

Elizabeth Osborn Ward, born in Edgartown, died on Feb. 21 in her 87th year. She was the 11th child of Walter S. Osborn and his second wife, Marion Helena Hill.

Elizabeth, better known in her earlier years as Betty, left her beloved Island to attend Mary Washington College, where she received her B.S. degree in education, and in 1966 she received her master's of education degree in guidance and counseling at the University of Virginia. She began her teaching career in a rural area in Grayson County, Va.

In 1952 she and her husband and children moved to Roanoke from Charleston, W.Va. It was here that she resumed her profession in 1959, teaching for two years at Jefferson High School and was then transferred to the new Patrick Henry High School, where she taught classes in English and was the counselor in Parsons Hall. In 1966 she became the director of guidance and remained in that position until she reluctantly retired in 1980 at 65 years of age.

Through the years she returned annually to her beloved Martha's Vineyard where her roots ran deep, proud of her heritage -- three Mayflower ancestors, tenth in descent from Thomas Mayhew Sr., founder of the first white settlement on the Vineyard, who became governor of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and the Elizabeth Islands, and eighth in descent from Tristam and Dionis Coffin, one of the first families to settle here in 1659. A descendant of their son, John, who with his family moved to Edgartown, Timothy Coffin Jr., built a large house on the edge of the Edgartown harbor in 1828. It was here that all 11 Osborn children were born and reared. Because of her interest in her heritage on the Island, she became a member of the Martha's Vineyard Seacoast Defence Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Elizabeth had the rare privilege of being secretary to Emily Post for seven summers. It was to Edgartown that Mrs. Post returned each year to her charming house that tourists still drive by to view.

In addition to her teaching career, Elizabeth Ward was active in several professional organizations: Alpha Eta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, the Roanoke Chapter of the American Association of University Women, a member of the Mary Washington College Alumni Association, and the University of Virginia Alumni Association. She had been a member of Woodlawn Methodist Church for many years and later became a member of the Unity Church of Roanoke Valley. However, the main focus of her life was in her love for her family, her husband, her children and her grandchildren.

She is survived by four children, H. Kyle Ward Jr., a pharmacist, and his wife, Cheryl, in Florida; Ovid Osborn Ward, a boat designer and builder, artist and sculptor, of Edgartown; Timothy Coffin Ward, an attorney, and his wife, Virginia, of Alaska, and her daughter, Beth Ward Hayes Tritsarolis, a former primary education teacher in the Roanoke School System, and her husband, John, of Roanoke, Va. Five grandchildren also survive her, Erik A. Ward of Arlington, Va.; Paige Elizabeth Ward Horne and her husband, Claude, of Troutville, Va.; Chrismon Stone Ward and his wife, Sarah, of Kodiak, Alaska; Caroline Rose Ward of Boulder, Colo.; Franklin Kyle Hayes of Roanoke, Va.;, and a step-granddaughter, Brandie H. Watson and her husband, Wade, of Waynesboro, Pa.; also three great-grandchildren, Blake Ovid Horne, Catherine Elizabeth Horne and Kadin Stone Ward, as well as many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, H. Kyle Ward, in 1992, by a half-brother, Frederick W. Osborn, two half-sisters, Raida Osborn and Mary Osborn Nevin and brothers and sisters, Samuel W. Osborn, Natalie O. Gudger, William T. Osborn, Deidamia O. Bettencourt, Henrietta O. Maury, John W. Osborn and Caroline Osborn.

A graveside service will be held in the New Westside Cemetery, Edgartown at 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the charity of one's choice. Arrangements are under the care of Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs.