Frederick Yates Ward

The founder of a Harford County surveying business helped lead the restoration of Bel Air

April 08, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Frederick Yates Ward, founder of a Harford County surveying firm who also led in the restoration of downtown Bel Air, died of pneumonia April 1 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was 81.

Mr. Ward was born in Boone, N.C., and moved with his family to Bel Air in 1930.

After graduating from Bel Air High School in 1945, he enlisted in the Army and served in the Pacific during the waning days of World War II.

Discharged with the rank of sergeant, he entered the University of Maryland, College Park on the GI Bill of Rights and earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1954.

In 1955, Mr. Ward established Sutcliffe & Ward in Bel Air, which became Frederick Ward Associates Inc. in 1957.

"The business quickly progressed from its modest beginnings to become one of the region's premier engineering, architecture and surveying design firms. The company led the way in development design as Harford County grew through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s," said a son, Craig A. Ward of Bel Air, who has owned and operated the business since his father's retirement in 1993.

Some of the major projects handled by the firm included Box Hill North, Box Hill South, Wakefield Meadows and Forest Lakes, all residential developments, as well as the Festival at Bel Air shopping center and Bel Air Plaza.

"His love was land surveying, and he was also a landscape architect," said John V. Mettee III, vice president of the firm.

"He was a great businessman, and he loved technology. He was always eager to embrace new technology, which he incorporated into the practice," Mr. Mettee said. "We were one of the first firms to have computer-aided design."

"Fred always worked well with the staff and clients. He gave you the opportunity to show yourself and gave you all the support you needed," Mr. Mettee said.

Mr. Ward also played a vital role in the redevelopment of Bel Air.

"He purchased and renovated numerous old properties along Main Street when no one else would risk the investment," his son said.

Mr. Ward stressed the importance of education to staffers.

"He definitely supported the staff on this matter because education was very important to him," Mr. Metttee said.

"He was devoted to surveying as a profession," his son said.

Charles E. Maloy, a retired Towson University administrator who had been vice president of students and director of the university's Counseling Center from 1972 to 1995, was a longtime friend.

In addition, Dr. Maloy had been chairman of the Maryland Licensing Board for Professional Surveyors, on which Mr. Ward had served.

"I met Fred when he came on the board, and we became close friends. As a professional, he was outstanding," Dr. Maloy said.

"There were no schools in the state that offered a major in surveying, so students had to go to out-of-state schools," he said. "So he led the way in creating and endowing the Fred and Joan Ward Scholarship that allowed a student to major in land surveying at Towson University."

Mr. Ward had been president of the Maryland Society of Surveyors and received the organization's lifetime achievement award in 2000.

A resident of Bel Air, Mr. Ward was a world traveler and had been a charter member of Maryland Golf and Country Club, where he enjoyed golfing.

His wife of 54 years, the former Joan Eccles, died last year.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at McComas Funeral Home, 50 W. Broadway, Bel Air.

Survivors include another son, Byron W. Ward of Apple Valley, Calif.; a daughter, M. Tracy Kolesov of Bel Air; a sister, Mary Helen Cooper of Harker Heights, Texas; and five grandchildren.

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