Neladene Anne Ward, age 81, of Dowagiac, died peacefully Saturday, January 2, 2021 in the comfort of her family’s presence.
She was born March 23, 1939 in Cassopolis, Michigan to Kenneth and Loma Ward.
Neladene was a1957 graduate of Dowagiac High School and went on to earn her Bachelor degree from Western Michigan University in 1966. She taught school from 1958 through 1969. She began her teaching career in the National School, a one room school in Berrien County. She then taught in a two room school house at Allen School in Cass County. She then taught for the Niles Community Schools at James Ellis School in Howard Township.
Neladene was a milk tester and technician for ten years with Michigan Dairy Herd Improvement. She began with 4-H in 1950 and over the next forty years showed cattle, sheep, goats and poultry at the Cass County without missing a single day of the fair. Neladene had many achievements and recognitions with the Cass County Fair including serving as Dairy Superintendent for twenty-five years, beginning the Baby Animal Barn in 1973, receiving the Outstanding Leader Award in 1984, and being named Grand Marshall in 2006. She was also named Michigan State Dairy Leader of the Year in 2002.
Neladene will be greatly missed by family and friends. She is survived by one daughter, Marcy Specht of Dowagiac; one son, Michael (girlfriend, Lorisa Templeton) Bentzler of Dowagiac; three grandchildren, Lindsay (Dave) Davis of Dowagiac, Jesse Specht of Dowagiac, Cassie Bentzler of Buchanan; six great grandchildren, Shane, Brooklyn, Addison, Cheyenne, Abel, Remi; and a host of cousins and friends.
Family and friends will gather Wednesday, January 6, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. until time of service at 3:00 p.m. in Connelly Chapel Wagner Family Funerals, 202 North Broadway Street, Cassopolis. Neladene will be laid to rest in Sumnerville Cemetery in Sumnerville, Michigan.
The family prefers contributions in memory of Neladene be made to MSU Extension 4-H, 120 North Broadway Street, Suite 116, Cassopolis, Michigan 49031.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Connelly Chapel Wagner Family Funerals, Cassopolis. Please share a memory or a message online: wagnercares.com.
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