Archibald Floyd Ward, 88, hospital chaplain, research sociologist

April 26, 2000|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Archibald Floyd Ward, a former research sociologist and director of training in the forensic division at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, died Friday at his home in Clinton of congestive heart failure. He was 88.

Mr. Ward, a man of wide-ranging educational and vocational accomplishments, had during his professional lifetime been a minister, mental health chaplain and sociologist.

Born and raised in Lumberton, N.C., Mr. Ward earned a bachelor's degree from North Carolina State University in 1933 and a divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary, then in Chester, Pa., in 1937.

As a college student in the 1930s, Mr. Ward became acquainted with George Washington Carver, the famed Tuskegee Institute scientist, whom he later described "as the greatest influence on my life," said his wife of 40 years, the former Sue Fryer, secretary of Maryland's Department of Aging.

In 1937, he was named minister of Calvary Baptist Church in Towson. In 1942, he moved to Williamsburg, Va., to become pastor of Williamsburg Baptist Church.

He also was part-time chaplain at Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg and later entered the University of Maryland, where he earned a doctorate in sociology. He also was the first doctoral candidate to graduate from what would become the university's criminology course.

He did additional graduate work at the Johns Hopkins University, University of Pennsylvania and College of William and Mary and was the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation grant.

In 1951, he returned to Eastern State Hospital as its first full-time chaplain. There he developed a program for pastoral training modeled after the program he had studied at St. Elizabeths Hospital.

In 1961, he joined the staff of St. Elizabeths as research chaplain. He later became research sociologist and then director of training in the hospital's forensic division, which prepared staff for pretrial evaluations and suggested treatment for patients. He retired in 1985.

"He provided the necessary and adequate professional training to the staff in order for them to evaluate patients," said Joseph Henneberry, chief of the hospital's forensic in-patient services division and a friend of 40 years.

"He was a great, great person who had a certain warmth and kindness. He would always go an extra mile to reach a hand out," he said.

"Why criminals turn to anti-social behavior was one of the underlying themes of his work. Another one of his prime goals was treating the spiritual needs of people who have mental illness," said Mrs. Ward, who added that her husband "blended all of his careers quite well."

In addition to his regular work, he compiled an unpublished account called "Some Historical Notes on Forensic Psychiatry at St. Elizabeths Hospital," which opened in 1855 as the Government Hospital for the Insane. The hospital, wrote Mr. Ward, housed Richard Lawrence, the first would-be presidential assassin, who tried to kill President Andrew Jackson and was sent there after a successful insanity defense by Francis Scott Key.

Mr. Ward also wrote and lectured on religion, mental health and pastoral care, and published a book, "Seasons of the Soul," in 1960. In 1998, he completed the manuscript for "On Becoming Whole: Timeless Biblical Wisdom."

In retirement, he volunteered in drug abuse prevention for the Prince George's County Health Department and was recognized for his efforts by then-County Executive Parris N. Glendening in 1994.

He also served on the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Patuxent Institution.

"He said retirement was `putting a new set of tires on the same wheels,' " said his daughter Beth Ione Ward of Northampton, Mass.

A studious man who enjoyed intense physical work, Mr. Ward maintained his extensive vegetable garden with a hand plow and chopped wood for the fireplace. He enjoyed leisure reading in a favorite chair by the fireplace.

When he was age 86, he took up yoga and became active in the mind-body movement. Although he lost his sight several years ago, he remained intellectually active and at his death was reading "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" on audiotapes.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Calvary Baptist Church, 120 W. Pennsylvania Ave. in Towson.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Ward is survived by a son, John Archibald Ward of Williamsburg; two other daughters, Ann Ward Little of Williamsburg and Lucille Ward Walker of St. Inigoes, St. Mary's County; and four grandchildren.

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