In memory: William T. Ward III

William T. (Bill) Ward III, 87, passed away peacefully Jan. 26, in Fort Collins. Bill was born in Knox City, TX, and lived most of his youth in nearby Benjamin, TX.

Bill was a good athlete and competed in several sports in high school in Benjamin. He graduated in the top 5 of his class…granted, there were only 5 in his graduating class. He moved to Colorado after high school and attended Colorado State University, where he pledged Phi Delta Theta fraternity, majored in physical education, and minored in math and physical sciences. During this time, he met a pretty nursing student on a blind date named Donna Denny, and although she didn’t think he was her type, he pursued her until she finally married him in June of 1957. This marriage would last 65 ½ years and produce four children: William T. (Billy) Ward IV, Bonnie, Scott, and Kevin. It was time to get a station wagon.

After a brief time as an elementary school teacher, Bill joined his father on Midway Ranch in southern Colorado and became a full-time cattle rancher. After many years of country life, he had the opportunity to go back to his beloved CSU as president of the CSU Alumni Association and Director of Alumni Relations. So, in 1973, he packed up the station wagon and moved the family to the big city of Fort Collins.

In addition to his work at CSU, he and Donna owned Blue Spruce Hallmark in The Square, and spent the time they weren’t working running kids to various sporting and extracurricular activities. He made sure they learned to ski and famously broke his leg while standing still on a run at Breckenridge. Favorite family vacations in the station wagon included Yellowstone, Padre Island, rafting the Green and Yampa rivers, and San Francisco. He loved traveling to CSU bowl games and followed the men’s basketball team when they went to the NIT Final Four. They traveled to Brazil to visit Donna’s sister Bonnie, and her husband Uriel, and spent a month getting a private tour of the country. The family celebrated Bill and Donna’s 50th wedding anniversary with a trip to St. Lucia, then 10 years later, celebrated 60 years with a fun weekend in Las Vegas. He took many trips with the CSU alumni association which included Hawaii, Mexico, rafting down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, and the (then) USSR.

He left CSU in 1984, sold the station wagon, and joined Coldwell Banker/Everett Companies until he learned of an opening at CSU-Pueblo with their alumni association. In 1992 they moved to Pueblo, where he became the Director of Development and Alumni Relations. He was an active member of the Pueblo community, taking part in numerous civic and university activities during his time there. He finally made the jump to full retirement in 2002. They made their way back to Fort Collins and joined the ranks of proud, doting grandparents to seven grandchildren: Benjamin and Jacob Ward, Andrew and Zoey Benham, Tyler and Tommy Ward, and Matthew Glass. Next to Donna, they were the greatest joy in his life. In 2021, they added a much adored son-in-law from Cardiff, Wales, Sam Kendall. Second to his grandchildren, gardening was his passion – his roses and flower gardens were a sight to behold! When he wasn’t gardening, he was reading – detective stories, spy novels, westerns. Between gardening and reading, he was watching whatever Colorado sports team was on – Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets, Avalanche – he was a devoted fan.

Bill is preceded in death by his parents, Wm T Ward, II, and Aldine (Melton) Ward, and his brother Tim and Tim’s wife Nancy, and their little rescue dog Sammi. Survivors include his beloved wife Donna, his children, their spouses and their children: Billy and Lisa (Brereton) Ward (Trinidad), Benjamin and Jacob; Bonnie and Jeff Benham (Fort Collins), Andrew and Zoey (Sam Kendall); Scott Ward (Las Vegas), Tyler and Tommy; Kevin Ward (Fort Collins), Matthew Glass. He will be missed by his nieces Kim (Wayne) Simshauser, Jennifer Ward, and nephew Ty Ward; Donna’s sister Bonnie (Uriel Maldonado, Sao Paulo, Brazil) and much loved extended family and friends. He was cared for by his favorite personal physician Matt Duran, and his Bronco loving oncologist Steven Schuster. Pathways Hospice helped him stay free of pain in his final days and we are grateful to all of his healthcare professionals.

Please join us as we honor and remember him Thursday, March 16, details to be announced soon. Gifts of remembrance can be sent to the Colorado State University Foundation at P.O. Box 1870, Fort Collins, CO 80522-1870, or the CSU-Pueblo Foundation, 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001. Please include William T. Ward III in the memo line. He’d love everyone to plant a flower and read a book when thinking of him.

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of William T. Ward III please visit