Jack Keith Ward

March 22, 1932 ~ May 21, 2020 (age 88)


Jack (Doc) K. Ward, D.V.M.

Dr. Jack K. Ward, 88, of Hamilton passed away Thursday, May 21, 2020 at the family home.

He was born March 22, 1932 in Forsyth, Montana, the son of Joseph Ward and Montana (Clemens) Ward.

Jack was raised in Hysham, Montana. He graduated from Hysham High School in 1949.  After high school, he worked for various ranches in Eastern Montana.

Jack married Della Hale, of Forsyth, MT, on September 2, 1951.  In 1952, Jack and Della moved to Bozeman, MT where he attended Montana State University, until 1954.  The couple moved to Pullman, WA, where Jack completed his Bachelor of Science and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees.

Jack and Della moved to Hamilton in 1958, where Jack joined the Bitterroot Veterinary Clinic.  The couple welcomed their first daughter Lorri Jo and from there, Steven Wayne, Beth Karen and Jason Kent.

In 1975, Jack opened his private equine and bovine medicine and surgery practice, where he continued to work until 2015.

Jack held various officer positions with the Western MT Veterinary Medical Assoc. and MT Veterinary Medical Assoc.  He was advisor to the Montana Horse Racing Commission from 1964-1967 and served on the Board of Directors for the Society for Theriogenology from 1964-1975.  Jack was an AAEP Approved Competitive Trail Ride Judge for the Bitterroot Valley and enjoyed these rides with his children, for years. 

You could see Jack at the Ravalli Co. Fairgrounds on the racetrack and working with the 4H clubs.  He loved this time spent as the local track vet and working with the young kids in the valley.

Jack served as a delegate in 1972 with the Montana Constitutional Convention.  This was one of the highlights of Jack’s life.

From 1970-1980 he conducted collaborative research at the University of MT in the fields of virology and immunology.  These studies involved the etiology, pathogenesis, and treatment of weak calf syndrome and weak lamb disease. For 7 years, Dr. Ward conducted cooperative studies and consulted with the Rocky Mountain Laboratory and with Ribi ImmunoChem Research, Inc., on immune-responsive modifiers that were approved for treatment of bovine cancer eye and equine sarcoid.  Jack was the author or co-author of 9 journal publications and contributed to numerous scientific proceedings. 

Jack and Della traveled to New York City in 1983, where Jack received the American Veterinary Medical Association Practitioner Research Award.  This was a very high honor for his family.

Jack’s last honor was being inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2017.  But, his biggest accomplishment was his family; his wife of 68 years, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Jack was preceded in death by his father, mother, his brother Wayne, his sister Mae and his sons, Jason and Steve.

He is survived by his wife, Della of Hamilton; daughter, Lorri Brown of Helena; Beth Disney (Terry) of Missoula; granddaughters, Tiffany (Matt) Hobbs, Mandy (Matt) Needham, Kassandra Dodson, Wendy (Jeremy) Brown, Amy (Will) Schott, Justin Ward and Rachelle Eggleston and eight great-grandchildren; siblings Irene Cantrell, Hysham, Nina Spannagel, Belgrade and Mike Garverich, Butte.

The family would like to thank Marcus Daly Hospice Services for their loving and caring treatment of Jack.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. 

The family suggests that memorials be made to the Bitter Root Humane Society, 262 Fairgrounds Rd., Hamilton, MT  59840 or Marcus Daly Hospice Services, 1200 Westwood Dr., Hamilton, MT  59840.




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