In preparing for his professional career, Dick Ward studied engineering in college before veering into law in graduate school, but another academic discipline always tugged at him.
“My favorite courses — and I was only able to manage about two of them — were history courses,” the two-term San Marino city councilman said last week. “I’ve always been interested in historical novels, and practically anything historical. I just have a natural interest and curiosity.”
Gravitating to the Pasadena Museum of History was a natural progression later in life, and that blossomed into a long period of involvement. It will culminate Oct. 15 when Ward and his wife, Ann, will be honored as Contemporary History Makers at the museum’s black-tie gala dinner at the California Club in downtown Los Angeles.
The Wards are being honored for their civic service, dedication to education, and promotion of Pasadena and its environs, according to a museum press release.
“They’ve been terrific,” said Bill Thomson, a member of the museum’s Board of Trustees who is co-chairing the gala with wife Carol. “They’ve just been very, very faithful over the years, attending almost all of our events and being very supportive.”
The Wards have lived in San Marino since 1969, raising their five children — and now keeping up with 12 grandchildren. Ann’s local roots run much deeper: She moved to the area with her family at age 4, settling in Alhambra, and has personally observed many of the local historic events and trends.
Dick Ward gravitated to the Pasadena Museum of History about 10 years ago through his work. He was a partner with Christie Parker & Hale, a law firm that specialized in intellectual property. A traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution was coming to the museum, and the firm decided to sponsor it.
Ward took the involvement a step further when he was promptly asked to join the museum board, and he ended up serving for five years.
Those who know him might not be surprised. He’s always been raising his hand to serve his community when needed. Ward was involved in the San Marino Schools Foundation at its incubation in 1980, when the San Marino Unified School District was dealing with the fallout from Proposition 13 and other events, and he served as its second president. He also accepted presidency appointments to the San Marino National Little League and the City Club.
Ward jokes that his “Irish genes” drew him to politics, but “my interest wasn’t sufficient to take a chance on getting into political life [as a career].” Instead, he’s dabbled in it on a local, unpaid level. Ward was elected to the City Council seven years ago, and took a turn as mayor in 2013. Term limits will end his service in fall 2017.
Other honorees at the Pasadena Museum of History gala will be Dave and Holly Davis, Thomas Seifert and Dianne Philibosian, and Robert Winter. Tickets, which are $400, may be purchased at historymakers.bpt.me. For information, call (626) 577-1660, ext. 14, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.