Susan Kay Niles Ward
Susan Kay Niles Ward, of Wilton, Iowa, passed away peacefully in her home on December 15, 2022, in Banks, Oregon, after fighting a brave and long battle against cancer. Sue was born in Iowa City, Iowa on Wednesday, January 11, 1950, to Doris Mae Johnson Niles and Forrest Theodore Niles. She attended school in Wilton, graduating in May of 1968. Sue married her childhood sweetheart, William James Ward on June 28, 1968, in the Wilton United Methodist Church. They moved to Arizona to start their life together, which became their permanent home where they raised two daughters, Melissa and Jennifer.
When her girls started Kindergarten, Sue found her calling working with children and dedicated nearly 28 years in the Phoenix Unified School District before retiring in 2011. She enjoyed working with the young ones as a Kindergarten Classroom Assistant before skipping to High School. Sue would jokingly say, “After 10 years in Kindergarten, I finally graduated!” She spent the remainder of her career at Carl Hayden High School, where she enjoyed being on staff while her granddaughters attended the same school.
Summers were packed full of camping trips to Christopher Creek with her children, nieces, nephews, and eventually her grandchildren. Sue loved the mountains and enjoyed listening to the wind blow thru the pine trees while relaxing with a good book and a can of Mountain Dew (with a straw). She was always up for a game of dominos, dice, or a “Goober Walk,” which has provided us with many treasured memories for our family.
Sue will be remembered for her witty personality, her compassion for others and love of family. And we must not forget the Dutch Brothers trips for her “must-have” hot cocoa.
Sue is survived by her husband of 54 years, William James Ward, and their daughter Jennifer Lynn Riding (Aaron), (Banks, OR). Siblings: Donna Niles Faulkner (Muscatine, IA), Pam Niles Yeary (Muscatine, IA), Jim Niles (Debbie), (Davenport, IA), Tom Niles (West Plains, MO), sister-in-law Joan Niles (Muscatine, IA), sister-in-law Elizabeth Eden (Ervin), (Peoria, AZ), sister-in-law Thelma Thomason (Glendale, AZ). Grandchildren: Brittany Henagar (Tipton, IA), Laura Henagar (Fairfield, IA), Emily Henagar (Banks, OR), Braden Johnston (Kaelin), (Lafayette, OR). Great Grandchildren: Wyatt, Saphirah, Sarah, Jackson, Kylie Kay and one precious baby on the way.
Sue was preceded in death by her parents, her daughter Melissa Ann and her brothers Jack Niles and Forrest Niles.
A Celebration of Life will be held in June at the VFW in Tipton, Iowa. Family and friends will be notified with details in the near future.