Mabel Ellen (Madge) Ward, 93, born in Luton, Bedfordshire, England, on April 8, 1920, and died surrounded by her family and friends in Sonoma on Feb. 27, 2014.
Madge was a trained milliner and hat designer when she met her husband, the late Douglas Ward, a RAF Battle of Britain pilot, in 1940. After a whirlwind one-week romance, the couple was engaged. A few days later, Doug crashed and suffered severe facial injuries. Although Doug attempted to call off the engagement, Madge stood by him, and 10 months after numerous reconstructive surgeries, they began a marriage that lasted 60 years until Doug’s passing in 2001.
During World War II, Madge worked for DeHavilland Aircraft Company as a Rosie the riveter. In later years, she worked in several offices in a variety of capacities. Madge and Doug immigrated to Sonoma in 1981, to be closer to their family, especially their grandchildren. Madge worked in her son-in-law’s medical office for 12 years in Sonoma. Her gratitude for the care she received during a severe illness at Sonoma Valley Hospital, motivated her to become a member of the Sonoma Valley Hospital Auxiliary for 12 years. During her life with Doug, Madge lived on three continents and travelled extensively throughout the world. She was an extraordinarily accomplished seamstress and loved preparing traditional English treats in her kitchen, especially Christmas puddings that were prized by family and friends.
Madge was the daughter of George and Nellie Boult (Byers) and had two brothers, Irving and Thomas who preceded her in death. Madge is survived by two daughters, Disty Thompson, (Richard) and Cassy Merenda (Mick); two grandsons, Douglas Thompson, (Jennifer Gray) and Ian Thompson, (Hope Brady); and one great-grandson, Rowan Abbot-Thompson.
Her family would like to offer their heartfelt thanks to the wonderful caregivers who aided in her care over the past year and to Hospice, who offered such incredible support. A celebration of Madge’s life will be held at Murphy’s Pub on Sunday, March 9, 2014.