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Turn your passion into reality. Our community foundation donors are passionate people with a common mission: inspiring philanthropy and transforming the quality of life in southeastern Virginia. Since 1950, we’ve invested over $225 million on behalf of generous people, who live, work and strive to make Hampton Roads a great community.


WW II Couple's Love Lasts Forever
By Sally Hartman / February 8, 2017
Frederick and Gertrude E. "Betty" Ward married in 1941 in the midst of World War II when

they were both 22 years old. Although the couple has since passed away, their early married years are showcased in a scrapbook Betty made that now lives in the Slover Library's history collection in Norfolk, Virginia. 

And, Fred and Betty's love of others lives forever through the Hampton Roads Community Foundation scholarship Fred endowed in tribute to his wife, who loved teaching English in Virginia Beach.

Betty started the scrapbook as the couple married in the spring of 1941. Glued to the first page is a card of congratulations that reads: "To Betty, a swell gal, and Freddie my best pal."

A few pages later the date of the Pearl Harbor bombing is in big red letters at the top of a page where Betty worries about the safety of Fred and others serving in the Navy. She also writes about starting work on December 8 at a Singer Sewing Machine factory. With sewing machine production halted during wartime she likely worked on an assembly line making weapons for the troops.

Telegrams, photos, letters, ration books and newspaper clippings detail Fred and Betty's  lives over the next few years. Fred continued to serve in the Navy as a chief petty officer while Betty worked as a Western Union telegraph operator and at a fuse factory to support the war effort. 

Telegrams, photos, letters, ration books and newspaper clippings detail Fred and Betty's  lives over the next few years. Fred continued to serve in the Navy as a chief petty officer while Betty worked as a Western Union telegraph operator and at a fuse factory to support the war effort.

After the war Betty, who graduated from the College of William & Mary, taught English at Princess Anne High School for 19 years. She passed away in 1996. Fred, who had a career in the Navy, lived his last years in a Virginia Beach senior community. His connection to the Hampton Roads Community Foundation came when he was finalizing his estate plans and named his daughter and grandson as beneficiaries of his trust. His estate planning attorney asked a key question about final wishes:

 "If no one you have named is living, are there charities, causes or schools you would want to benefit?"

That question prompted Fred to think about what matters in life and to include contingency plans should he have no living heirs. Fred asked for a scholarship in his wife's name be started at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. Although it was unlikely this backup plan would ever be put into action, Fred set a preference for scholarships that would benefit either graduates of Princess Anne High School where Betty taught or Virginia Beach graduates from other schools studying English, which was his wife's major.

Then the unthinkable happened. Shortly before Fred passed away in 2011 at age 92, both his daughter and grandson died leaving Ward with no heirs.

Fred's foresight led to an estate gift to the community foundation for the Gertrude Ward Scholarship. There currently are three Ward Scholars in college. Daja Askew is a Princess Anne High graduate studying literature and language at Virginia Tech. Sarah Burk is a Bayside High graduate studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to become an English teacher like Betty Ward. Angela Delos Reyes is a Princess Anne High graduate studying business at Washington and Lee University.

Daja, Sarah and Angela are the first links in an endless chain of Ward Scholars who will benefit from Fred Ward's loving tribute to his beloved wife. March 1 is the deadline for Virginia Beach students to apply for the Ward Scholarship.

The Wards are buried in Virginia Beach, Virginia where their headstone is engraved with their names, 1919 birth dates, death dates and the words "Forever Together."



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