Cover photo for Donald "Pappy" and Geraldine "Jeri" Ward's Obituary
Donald "Pappy" and Geraldine "Jeri" Ward Profile Photo

Donald "Pappy" and Geraldine "Jeri" Ward

January 12, 1932 — January 19, 2023

Donald "Pappy" and Geraldine "Jeri" Ward

Donald “Pappy” Ward, 91, of Atlantic, Iowa, died Thursday, January 19, 2023, at the Exira Care Center and Geraldine “Jeri” Ward, 84, of Atlantic, died Saturday, April 4, 2020, at Caring Acres in Anita. 

Geraldine Elva was born on April 14, 1935, in Carbon, Iowa, the daughter of Elvin John and Eliza Elizabeth (Robison) Cross of Atlantic, Iowa.  She attended schools in Atlantic and graduated from Wiota Consolidated School in 1954.

Donald Laurence was born on January 12, 1932, the son of John Wesley and Anna Christina (Nelson) Ward in Wiota, Iowa.  He attended and graduated from Wiota Consolidated School in 1950. 

On November 29, 1953, the couple was united in marriage at her mother’s home in Atlantic.  Two children, Diana and Mike were born of this union, joining daughter, Linda from Don’s first marriage to Janice Huddleson.  In 1962, the couple moved to Atlantic.

She loved her family and delighted in her grandchildren and their many accomplishments.  Jeri loved cooking, quilting, working with silk flowers, traveling, and music of a wide variety.  She especially loved country gospel, big bands, stringed orchestra and just plain country music. 

Don was a longtime employee of A.M. Cohron & Son, Inc. and retired from Beachners Construction Company of Kansas, after 11 years.  He loved his work as a bridge foreman and was instrumental in the building of them across, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and western Arkansas.  In retirement he was the attendant at Power Wash in Atlantic, where he made many new friends.

The couple were long-time members of Zion Lutheran Church.  They loved to dance, even as youngsters, and rarely missed one when they were within driving distance!  Don and Jeri looked forward to traveling and bus tours; making wonderful memories with dear friends, Carol and Joyce Hayes.  In retirement they played the slots, enjoyed bowling in league together, and became avid fishermen.

They are survived by daughters, Linda (John) Minear of Livonia, Missouri and Diana (David) Young of Casey, Iowa; four granddaughters and one grandson, Jackie (Joe) Roy of Springfield, Vermont, Julie Minear of Springfield, MO, Amanda (Neil) Roof of Avoca, Iowa, Ashley (Scott) Jacobson of Ankeny, Iowa, and Joshua (Brenda) Young of Council Bluffs, Iowa; five great-grandchildren, Brady and Justin Roy, Braden and Brantley Young and Chloe Jacobson; longtime companion of their late son Mike Ward, Susan Long of Buffalo, Missouri; Jeri’s sister, Atha Johnson of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Don’s siblings, Nola Brown of Anita, Iowa, Kenneth (Judy) Ward of Mesquite, Nevada and Richard (Janie) Ward of Anita, Iowa; sister-in-law, Barb Ward of Grant, Iowa; and a host of nieces, nephews and extended family.

They are preceded in death by their parents; Don’s first wife, Janice Huddleson; son, Michael L. Ward (December 8, 2022); twin great-granddaughters, Erika and Michelle Roy; Jeri’s four sisters and eight brothers; Don’s two brothers and three sisters; and many other relatives.

A Celebration of Life Memorial service to honor the lives of Don “Pappy” and Geraldine “Jeri” will be held at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, February 4, 2023, at Zion Lutheran Church in Atlantic.  The service will be recorded and available on the funeral home website by noon Monday.  Burial will be held in the coming months at Southlawn Memorial Gardens in Atlantic in conjunction with a Celebration of Life Memorial service for their son, Mike. 

Memorials may be directed to the family for later designation to Zion Lutheran Church and St. Croix Hospice. 

Roland Funeral Service is caring for Don and Jeri’s family and their arrangements.  Condolences may be left at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald "Pappy" and Geraldine "Jeri" Ward, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life Memorial Service

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Starts at 11:30 am

A luncheon will be held in the church fellowship hall immediately following the service.

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