Many here at Ward and Smith know David Ward, Jr. and his wife, Elizabeth. But not too many know how these two came together, until now. David and Elizabeth were recently featured in the February edition of Neighbors of Trent Woods, an exclusive magazine for the town of Trent Woods residents. In their article entitled "Meet the Wards," this couple share how they meet and what they do to stay busy in their free time.
Someone told me David and Elizabeth Ward had "an interesting love story." When I sat down with them by the fireplace in their comfy Trent Woods living room for a chat, it was obvious -- they still do. The Wards met while they were both still in school; Elizabeth was attending Saint Mary's Junior College (she couldn't attend Chapel Hill until her junior year), and he was at UNCCH. They were set up on a blind date by mutual friends and Elizabeth recalls David drove the "Mustard Mobile," his beloved first car. The rest, as they say, is history.
After school, Elizabeth taught in High Point for a short time and David went to the Navy. In 1958, they were married and moved to Norfolk, where David was stationed as a supply officer of a destroyer. While David was in law school at Duke, the couple lived in Durham, and in 1962, when David passed the bar, they moved to New Bern. They've raised three kids, Margaret, Leah, and David IV, who have all continued the family tradition of attending UNC-CH, and they are proud grandparents to five grandchildren.
"We've worked hard, but had a good time," Elizabeth says when she thinks back on their years together. She especially seems to love the memories of David's waterskiing days, and she prompts him to tell the story. He recalls the Dick Pope, Jr. was world champion water-skier, and the aide to a general then stationed at Cherry Point. His parents owned Cypress Gardens, a water ski resort in Florida, and when the general got sick and was sent to Bethesda, Maryland, Pope had some free time. He started a water ski club at the Trent Pines Club here in Trent Woods, and they began to put on performances. A local civic club financed the gas for the boats and the equipment, then sold tickets to shows to recoup their money and raise funds for charities. David says they did several professional shows, and recalls some of the stunts they did, including jumps and pyramids. When I related the popularity of water-skiing to some of the stories I've heard about nearby White Lake, also in Eastern NC, David chuckles. "Yes, but we were the only ones that had Dick Pope!" Elizabeth says they've continued to enjoy time on the water, and have owned several boats, affectionately named ''ReeWard," a combination of her maiden name, Reese and married name, Ward. So does David still water ski? That question elicits another chuckle. But Elizabeth tells me that he has been responsible for teaching many kids to enjoy the sport, and that every summer he runs "Camp David," a weeklong vacation when they welcome to their home their grandkids and their friends to spend lazy days on the river.
The magazine is only available for hard copy. The cover photo, shot by Carey Elizabeth Photography, comes courtesy of Neighbors of Trent Woods Magazine.