Eugene Ward was born in Algona, Iowa, on 17 February 1921 to
Nannie Worster Ward and Harry Ward.
He lived on the family farm with two brothers, Don and
Kendell, and two sisters, Dorothy and Patricia, until 1935
when the big depression drove so many people out of farming.
completed Algona High School, Class of 1938, and completed
Iowa State College, class of 1942, with a Bachelor of Science
degree in Electrical Engineering and membership in engineering
scholastic honorary societies Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu.
He was a member of Theta Chi fraternity.
work experience, after the earlier farm chores, started with
being a projectionist in a small theater in Algona in 1936,
followed by being relief projectionist at Ames Theater at Iowa
State College in 1938 through graduation in 1942.
During the college years he worked summers as operator
and life-guard at the Algona Municipal Swimming Pool.
graduation he worked for Westinghouse Electric at the
Bloomfield, New Jersey and Fairmont, West Virginia plants as
factory engineer on microwave vacuum tubes 1942 thru 1943, he
then joined the US Naval Reserve as an Ensign with duty on
Destroyer Escorts doing convoy duty and enemy sub-hunting work
in the Atlantic. After
the sea duty, he taught electronics at Mare Island Naval
Shipyard, Vallejo, California until released from active duty
joined Collins Radio Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1946 in
their new vacuum-tube laboratory and worked there as an
engineer until 1950 when he traveled west to join a start-up
company called Varian Associates in San Carlos, California.
worked at Varian until he retired in 1981, having helped the
company grow to international strength.
His efforts produced 22 U.S. patents and 4 British
patents in his name.
married Frances Ellet on 7 December 1950 and they had four
children: Joy, Larry, Jonathan and Nancy, which in due time
resulted in 15 Grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
They lived in Palo Alto, California and later, in Los
Altos, California before retiring in Stayton, Oregon, then to
to Stayton after retirement in 1981 he designed and had built
a 3500 square-foot house with active and passive solar
solar system was very successful, producing 75% of the heat
and hot-water for the house over each year’s time.
and Fran were active in a number of volunteer projects in
Two “Cycle-Oregon” events having as many as 1000
Chamber of Commerce
Public Library. Curt was the City’s representative during design and
High School Cafeteria, serving as construction supervisor
during this volunteer project.
Covered Bridge rebuild, member of the construction and
Covered Bridge. When
the Jordan Bridge was destroyed by fire, Curt drew a
complete set of plans for a new bridge to duplicate the
Jordan Bridge, secured the building permit and supervised
Memorial Pool cover building.
Curt served as the City’s representative during
and Curt, particularly Fran, were active in establishing
Neighborhood Watch in Stayton.
Covered Bridge Festival.
Both Curt and Fran are active in “anything that
needs doing” in helping this nationally-known event to
be successful. They
built the 1/6th scale covered bridge, “The Little
Bridge”, used in parades in Stayton, Sublimity,
Aumsville, and Portland to advertise the Covered Bridge
Festival and Stayton.
trouble with arthritis in his knees made working the large
garden on the hillside lot in Stayton difficult, Curt and Fran
designed and had built in 2002 a 1600 square-foot home in
Marian Estates, the retirement community in Sublimity, Oregon.
This final home has a garden in flat ground, with
raised beds for vegetables.
passed away at his home in Sublimity on August 23, 2014.
He was 93 years old.
At his request, no services will be held.
He requested that his ashes be scattered at sea. A Celebration of Life
and Community Thank You to Curt and Fran will be held 1pm-4pm,
Saturday, September 20th, on the Stayton-Jordan Covered Bridge in Pioneer Park, Stayton.
who wish to may contribute in his name to:
Public Library Foundation
515 N. First Avenue
1015 Third St. NW
Salem, OR 97304