John A. Ward, a carpenter who designed and built the windmill beside Long Wharf in Sag Harbor and at various times served as a constable, a village board member, and even a mayor of Sag Harbor, died at home there on March 15. He was 90 years old, the oldest active volunteer fireman in the state until his death.
His career as a fireman and ambulance driver spanned 74 years.
He was born on March 4, 1922, in Sag Harbor, one of 10 children of John Ward and the former Elsie Konrad.
Mr. Ward attended Pierson High School but left before graduating to join the Army. He served a two-year hitch beginning in 1946. His sister Margaret Toole of Sag Harbor said he received his high school diploma within the past 10 years. His wife, the former Lois Yost, died in 1993.
The couple had three children, two of whom survive, Janice Kracke of Riverhead and Brenda Ploeger of Sag Harbor. A son, David, died in 1988. In addition to Ms. Toole, Mr. Ward is survived by a brother, Edward, who lives in New York City. He leaves eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
He was a member of the American Legion, the Sag Harbor Fire Department, the Sag Harbor Yacht Club, and the Knights of Columbus. Ms. Toole said her brother was an enthusiastic boater and fisherman who sold fish during the Depression to help the family. “He caught bottlefish. They’re not blowfish; they’re bottlefish around here,” she said.
Mr. Ward helped build roads in Sag Harbor and designed and built numerous houses. He designed and built the Long Wharf windmill after Sag Harbor’s Beebe windmill, which was constructed in 1820 by Samuel Schellinger and Pardon Tabor for Capt. Lester Beebe. The original Beebe windmill was moved to Bridgehampton, where it stands today.
A funeral service was held at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Sag Harbor on March 19. Burial followed in the church cemetery. Memorial donations were suggested to the Sag Harbor Fire Department, P.O. Box 209, Sag Harbor 11963.