Robert “Bob” Ray Ward, passed peacefully in his home at the age of 91 on Sunday, May 1, 2021 surrounded by family. He was born on a family dairy farm two miles north of Eldon, Missouri, to J.O. and Agnes (Beyer) Ward on November 7th, 1930. Bob and his older brother, James “Jim” Marvin, worked on the dairy farm alongside their father throughout their childhood.
After graduating from Eldon High School, Bob enlisted in the Air Force and served at Ellington Air Force Base in the Houston, Texas area.
On August 6, 1949, Bob was united in marriage to the love of his life and high school sweetheart, Betty Ruth (Sullins) in Eldon, Missouri. She joined him in Texas, and there they welcomed their son, David Olen.
After leaving the service, the family returned to Eldon where they continued to grow the family with the arrival of their daughter, Kimberly Susan. Bob returned to the family dairy business and owned and operated the Eldon Foremost Dairy for many years.
In addition to being a milkman, Bob, being good with his hands, repaired bowling machines as well as sewing machines. He was probably best known to many for being in the arcade business. In the early 1970s, Bob purchased land on the Bagnell Dam Strip in Lake Ozark and opened Family Entertainment Arcade. He ran the arcade for the next 25 years with his son, David.
Bob enjoyed being surrounded by friends and was the life of any party. He was an avid golfer and a founding member of the Eldon Golf Course. He enjoyed a competitive round of pool, playing cards and traveling anywhere Ruth wanted to see. He was a brother of the local chapter of the Free Masons and was recently honored with his 60-year membership pin. He was also a member of Eldon First Baptist Church.
Besides his wife, Ruth, he was preceded in death by his brother, James, and his son, David.
Bob is survived by his daughter, Kimberly (Michael) Knopf, and daughter-in-law, René Ward, of Eldon, MO, three grandchildren: Nicholas (Amanda) Ward, of Skiatook, OK; Maggie (Adam) Wilson of Foristell, MO; and Abigail Knopf of Eldon, MO, and four great-grandchildren: Ava and Lillian Ward, and Archer and Harper Wilson.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, May 7, 2022 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Phillips Funeral home in Eldon, Missouri with a service immediately following. There will be a private family interment at a later date.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of Phillips Funeral Home of Eldon, MO.
In lieu of flowers, you are welcome to make a donation to the Honor Flight at honorflight.org.
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