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Candace "Candy" Jean (Riley) Ward
April 7, 1950 ~ October 31, 2023 (age 73) 73 Years Old
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On Tuesday, October 31, 2023, Candy Ward, loving wife, mother to 3 daughters, grandmother to 4 children, passed away at the age of 73.
Born April 7, 1950, to Ralph and Eva Riley, Candy grew up in Kent, Washington. Candy defied convention early on, moving out on her own at 18 and blazing her own way through male dominated arenas. She started with drag racing, hiding her gender until she went to collect her trophies. Having trophies taken away from her because she was a girl didn’t stop her though. She always drove like she was racing in the quarter mile. The insurance company even sent a letter once, requesting her husband speak to her about her speeding. He laughed at the thought that he could tell her how to behave and threw it right into the trash.
In her professional life, she proudly carried on the “Rosie the Riveter” legacy, working in manufacturing building the interiors of naval aircraft carriers and working as a tool maker for Boeing. She didn’t even let her fear of heights stop her. While walking beams 3 stories high in the air, she would remove her glasses so that she couldn’t see the ground. She later explored her passion for flowers and art and worked as a Floral Designer, creating stunning displays. She was proudly independent and pushed her own girls to do whatever they wanted to do in life.
Her real passion in life was her family, particularly her husband Richard. The only thing she loved more than packing up and heading out on their camping and fishing adventures was sharing the experience with family and friends. A lifelong girl scout, she bragged she could survive in the woods with nothing more than a pocketknife. She thrived leading her own girl scout troop and loved getting her girls excited for the outdoors. It was not unusual for her and Richard to grab their toothbrushes and a change of clothes and disappear for a few days, setting up camp along some river either to fish or to pan for gold. She was known for expertly casting into a river, then pulling up a chair to sit on the riverbank with a glass of wine. Candy had a knack for always making sure “roughing it” never meant giving up creature comforts. She would say girl scouts were prepared for anything.
Candy explored and shared many of her interests with her kids and grandkids. She loved to paint, sew, cook, and read. A voracious reader, there was always a stack of books nearby her chair, along with her current needlepoint and maybe a cookbook or two. When her and Richard weren’t traveling around the Northwest, she could be found in her beloved garden or plotting with Richard on the next addition to their yard. She was happiest when sharing “Nana’s garden” with all of the littles in her life and letting them get out and dig in the earth alongside her. Few things made her light up like hearing little voices calling for “Nana” or “Aunt Candy.” She always kept special treats for all of them. Nana fiercely loved her babies and happily accepted any child she came across as her own. All were welcome in her home and countless kids over the years called her mom and knew they always had a safe place with her.
Candy leaves behind her husband of 51 years, Richard; 3 daughters, Jenn Ward, Michelle (Scott) Shaffer, and Amy (Jeremy) Cronk; 2 granddaughters, Courtney and Kailey; 2 grandsons, Nathan and Jacob, and many beloved nieces and nephews. She will be missed. She will always be remembered for her wicked sense of humor, her laugh that lit up a room, and her generous heart.