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Frona 'Toni' Ward

by Jeanne Baron

Nov. 22, 2011 | WMU News

Frona "Toni" Ward, a retired Western Michigan University staff member, died Nov. 11. She was 101.

Ward, of Kalamazoo, joined the WMU staff in 1966 and retired in 1978 after 11 years of service to the University. She initially served as a secretary in the housing office, then transferred to the Department of Biology and worked there until her retirement.

A native of Lawton, Ward graduated from the Kalamazoo Business School. She was a secretary at Ft. Custer in Battle Creek, Mich., and Randolph Field in Texas during World War II. She also worked for the Red Cross in Silver City, N.M., as the war was ending.

Ward later worked as a secretary for the Mattawan Public Schools and, at one time, wrote a column for the Portage Herald. She spent winters in Arizona, where she learned to square dance and round dance, and she continued to dance with Kalamazoo-area groups well into her 90s. She also enjoyed traveling to the Caribbean, where she would snorkel and go bird watching.

Private graveside services will be held at the Prospect Hill Cemetery in Paw Paw. Visit to make a guestbook entry. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kalamazoo Humane Society.