Elizabeth J. ‘Betty’ Ward

Elizabeth J. ‘Betty’ Ward

ALTAMONT — Elizabeth J. “Betty” Ward — a devoted mother who cared for others until the very end — died on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, at her Altamont home. She was 90.

“She was amazing — always the caregiver, always loving and helpful, the best mom you could have,” said her daughter, Judy Bailey.

Mrs. Ward was born Nov. 26, 1930 in Roosevelt, Long Island. Her mother, Martha Frances Sarver, was a homemaker. Her father, Earl Sarver, was a carpenter. She had one sister, Margie. The family moved a lot and ended up in Cobleskill where Mr. Sarver “worked on a big farm, fixing whatever was needed,” said Ms. Bailey.

As a girl, Mrs. Ward loved school, her daughter said, and wanted to go into nursing but ended up working as a telephone operator for Bell Telephone. 

“My Aunt Mary and Uncle Andy introduced Mom and Dad,” said Ms. Bailey. The Ward brothers all worked for General Electric in Schenectady, she said.

Betty and William Ward married on Jan. 27, 1951. Their union lasted 69 years, ending only with his death on Nov. 29, 2020.

“My dad was a very hard worker. He ran the Guilderland school bus garage in the mornings and then went to work at G.E.,” said Ms. Bailey. “My mom was a homemaker.”

The family greatly enjoyed weekend outings on their boat — a 58 Lone Star, a now-classic aluminum boat that Ms. Bailey has restored.

A favorite boating venue was Stewarts Bridge, where, as part of a reservoir system, the water was always mirror smooth. “We went water-skiing, swimming, and picnicking. Each of us would bring a friend. I can see now what a lot of work it was for my mom. She was such a good sport,” said Ms. Bailey.

Her father took particular pleasure in teaching his children and their friends to waterski. “My dad always had such a big smile on his face,” Ms. Bailey recalled.

Mrs. Ward made food not just for lakeside picnics but to feed her family every day. She was an expert baker. One of her specialties was Hungarian coffee cake. She’d bake two at once to feed her family. “It was just amazing … We’d rip through one real quick,” said her daughter.

Mrs. Ward was also talented at crocheting and knitting. She would make hats, scarves, mittens, sweaters, and more.

“When my son was born, she made the most beautiful baby sets — sweaters, hats, booties, with ribbons running through. I kept it all,” said Ms. Bailey.

Mrs. Ward’s care for others showed through all she did. “The night before she died,” her daughter said, “she was in tough shape … But she was patting us. She was taking care of us still.”


Elizabeth J. Ward is survived by her children, Susan Ahlgren of Newton, New Jersey, Kathy Bridger and her husband, Steve, of Delray Beach, Florida, William Ward and his wife, Anastasia, of Guilderland, and Judy Bailey and her husband, Bob, of Knox; her grandchildren, Kiel Bridger of Florida, Leigh Ann Ward of Watervliet, Lauren Elizabeth Ward of Guilderland, and Keegan Bailey of Knox. 

“The family would like to thank the health-care providers and personal-care aids who compassionately cared for Mom over the years,” her family wrote.

Memorial messages may be left at www.altamontenterprise.com/milestones.

Memorial contributions may be made to Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, 3 Oakland Ave., Menands, NY 12204.

A celebration of life will be held in honor of both William and Betty Ward on Aug. 29, 2021 at Glimmerglass State Park, Otsego Lake.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer


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