A man named Paul Ward recently died suddenly at the age of 46, prompting quite a reaction from the Bedford, Ohio, community and beyond. Ward was the principal at Carylwood Intermediate School, and as such, schools in Bedford were closed on Monday, May 9 in Paul’s honor, reports WKYC.
As the news of Paul’s death spread across social media, so did questions about how he died so suddenly at such a young age and seemingly in good health. Now more details about Paul’s untimely death are appearing online, both via news reports that report he died during a spin class and via tributes on Facebook from Paul’s loved ones sharing stories about how Ward touched their lives for the better.
One such popular tribute was posted to Facebook by Dion Jackson on May 6, where Jackson wrote about losing a man that he called a true friend. Jackson called Paul one of the greatest men he knew. He went on to describe meeting him during his freshman year of school, with Paul becoming like a little brother to him soon thereafter.
Theirs was a mutual mentorship, with Jackson writing that Ward also become like an older sibling to him even though Paul was three years younger than Dion.
As reported by Fox 8, Ward is survived by his wife, Nicole, and their two sons. As seen on their website, video footage from Paul’s funeral shows part of the hundreds who turned out to say goodbye to Ward at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Oakwood Village. Notes from students decorated the walls. School buses were used to bring mourners to the church, which had to utilize the fine arts center for the overflow of people who showed up to pay their respects to Ward. Information about donations in Paul’s honor also appears on the site.
Bedford schools closed today in honor of Principal Paul Ward Jr. He died suddenly last wk. Wake & funeral are today. pic.twitter.com/UpNeBbtllo
— Meg Shaw (@MegDShaw) May 9, 2016
“Donations in his memory can be sent to the Bedford City School District, 475 Northfield Rd., Bedford, Ohio, 44146 for the Paul G. Ward, Jr. Annual Scholarship Fund.”
Many people spoke fondly via the video, telling of how Paul personally inspired them as an educator who cared about mentoring others. On Facebook, Jackson recalled Ward’s special relationship with his wife and sons, calling their family closeness something to be envied. Teenage sweethearts, Paul and Nicole’s relationship lasted for decades.
Jackson wrote of Paul’s Omega Psi Phi fraternity membership and of Ward being a “Que,” as the members are known. Jackson called Paul everyone’s friend — the direct opposite of a bully, but more like the kind of person who was a peacemaker.
Beyond that, Jackson used the opportunity to not only express how Ward touched the lives of so many people for the better, but to remind folks to have their health checked, a sort of clarion call to not allow his death to be in vain.
“If Paul had a chance he would tell everyone…to go get your health checked. Go to the doctor. Heart disease is a silent killer where the first symptom is usually death. But it is preventable.
“Trust me, I know Paul. I’ve known him since 1987. He would want his sacrifice to help others.
“I have been in constant prayer since Paul…passed. Mostly praying for Nicole, his sons, his mother, his brother and thanking God that he allowed this great man to be my friend for 29 years. Paul G. Ward I really hope some way you can see what I’m writing. I have never told you I love you but I do. You were an incredible friend and I miss you so much. Rest in peace Pearl. Everybody here is going to be okay because you laid the foundation for everything and the Lord decided to call you home and He does not make mistakes.”
[Image via Shutterstock]