Dean Thomas Ward, 73, of Leland NC and formerly of Peabody MA, died suddenly at home on January 7, 2024 as a result of a ruptured aneurysm. Dean leaves behind his best friend and loving wife, Kathleen Giadone, and two children, Nicholas and Caitlin, as well as his son-in-law Taylor Spear and three grandchildren, Hudson, Piper, and Sadie. He is also survived by his sisters Sher Ward, and Tracy Puiia, and his brothers Roy Ward, Charles Ward and Thomas Peele. Many other family members, friends, neighbors and colleagues will remember Dean warmly for his big laugh and bigger heart.
Dean was born in 1950 in Chelsea, MA to the late K. Frances (nee Kershaw) and Walter Ward. He grew up in Freeport, ME and Saugus, MA and loved to tell long-winded stories about camping in the woods with his friends, his one-armed grandfather who ran a sawmill, or hiding his Beatle boots from his mother in a tree stump. He was a lifelong Sox fan and loved listening to games on the radio. At just 20, he fell in love with the beautiful girl behind the counter at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Rt. 1 in Saugus and never looked back. After a lovely first date with Kathleen at the Ice Capades, they spent the rest of their early courtship carting her many younger siblings around with them to the drive-in or the beach. They were married in 1976 and six years later they started their own family.
Dean was a fun, involved, and devoted father. He coached sports teams, was a Boy Scout leader (and father of an Eagle Scout), and never missed a recital or competition. He loved family dinners at home and always said there was no restaurant that could compare to Kathleen’s cooking! Whether lakeside in Maine, cruising through California, or going wild in Disney World, family vacations were always important and so much fun to Dean. He and Kathleen happily retired to North Carolina so they could spend more time with their young grandchildren. Hudson, Piper, and Sadie were one of the greatest joys of Dean’s life.
Dean worked at GE Aircraft Engines in Lynn, MA for 42 years. After beginning as an 18 year old apprentice, he became an all-around machinist, then a union steward and eventually moved into management. In 1985, he earned a degree in Industrial Management from Northeastern University. He was well respected, but it was Dean’s light-hearted demeanor and “firm, fair, and friendly” approach that endeared him to so many. His family would joke that he couldn’t go anywhere without running into someone he knew from work. He also spoke fondly of his time working at Paradigm and at Jolly Jorge’s in Saugus.
Dean was very happy in retirement. He loved to golf, work on jigsaw puzzles, and had recently taken up stained glass. He also really enjoyed being part of dinner club and trivia nights with the neighbors. Dean was very happy to celebrate his 48th wedding anniversary and was always Kathleen’s biggest fan, admiring her art, cooking, and quilting but mostly saying she was “just so beautiful.”
At 45, Dean was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma, but after intensive treatments, had been cancer-free for many years. He was always grateful to have survived and actively worked with the Melanoma Education Foundation to help others identify and get treatment for melanoma. In lieu of flowers, his family asks that a donation be made in his name to the MEF. https://www.skincheck.org/Page10.htm
Dean (aka Deano, El Deaño, Dad, Papa, and The Sloth) was a joyful, kind, grateful and happy man, and we will never forget his incredible legacy of laughter, family, and love. A celebration of life will be held at Kathleen and Dean’s home on Sunday, January 14th from 2-5. For further information, please reach out to Caitlin at 978-979-4247 or Taylor at 518-929-1878
Arrangements are in the care of Coastal Cremations, 6 Jacksonville Street, Wilmington, NC.