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Ward, Myrle Olive, 1897-1992



  • Existence: 1897 - 1992


Myrle Olive Ward was born December 5, 1897, in Hamburg, Iowa, the fourth of eight children of Cyrus and Augusta Miller Ward. In 1908, at the age of eleven, she moved to Farragut, Iowa, to live with her maternal aunts, Izetta and Winnie Miller. In1915 she graduated from Farragut High School, and in 1919 she received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri. For the following four years she taught English and Latin in high schools in Maywood, Missouri, and Farragut and Essex, Iowa.

For two years, from 1923 to 1925, she attended the College of Missions in Indianapolis, Indiana. After her graduation she began her thirty-year career as a missionary for the Disciples of Christ Church. During those years she continued her education, at the University of Chicago in 1933 and at the University of Colorado in the summers of 1940 and1945.

Her first missionary assignment was a three-year general service in Jamaica, West Indies, from 1925 to 1928. For the next twenty years she served at the Disciples of Christ Congo Mission in the Equatorial Province (Belgian Congo, now Zaire)where she supervised village schools at Wema and Lotumbe.

In 1950 she was re-assigned to Jamaica and stayed there until 1957, as matron of a dormitory, treasurer of the mission and co-director of three work camps. In 1957 she returned to the Congo as treasurer of the District of Christ Mission, but because of family illness she returned to the United States in 1959 and settled in Red Oak, Iowa.

During her years in Red Oak she was an active volunteer in church and community activities such as the Good Samaritan Nursing Home and Church Women United.

Myrle Ward was widely honored for her outstanding service. She received awards as the Outstanding Alumna at Culver-Stockton University (1963); volunteer of the year, Iowa Health Care Association (1981);30 year plaque from the American Cancer Society in 1985; and in 1988 she received the Governor's Award for her participation in the adult literacy program.

Ward continued to travel widely during these years, to South America, to the Far East, Australia and New Zealand in 1970, and to Alaska in 1976.

Ward died in Red Oak on April 28, 1992, of leukemia.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Myrle Olive Ward papers

Identifier: IWA0078

Native of Hamburg, Iowa and missionary to the West Indies and the Belgian Congo from 1925 until 1959.

Dates: 1908-1992