Former Escambia County Judge Billy G. Ward Of Walnut Hill Passes Away

May 20, 2020

Former Escambia County Judge Billy G. Ward of Walnut Hill has passed away at the age of 95.

Ward was known for being a community servant, a dedicated Christian and a family man.

He served his country in the U.S. Army on foreign soil during World War II before returning home to farm.

He was a justice of the peace in Escambia County from January 1957 through December 1971 when the Justice of the Peace Court was abolished by a Florida Constitutional revision, replaced by the Circuit Court and County Court. Ward was grandfathered as a county judge, and went on to win election to the bench. He served until his retirement on December 31, 1988.

On August 21, 1997, the Century Courthouse was renamed the “Billy G. Ward Century Courthouse” in his honor.

Ward involved in his community. He became a charter member of the Walnut Hill Ruritan Club in 1947 and served with many community organizations. He was a a deacon and long-time member of Walnut Hill Baptist Church.

In October 2009, Ward was one of just over 100 WWII veterans that traveled to Washington on the Fifth Annual Emerald Coast Honor Flight so that the veterans could see the World Ward II Memorial — their memorial. Ward took along a camera and shared his day with readers.

Ward is survived by his wife of 74 years Lois and numerous other family members and close friends.  Funeral services will be held Friday, May 11 at Walnut Hill Baptist Church with burial to follow in the Walnut Hill Baptist Church Cemetery. Visitation will be held beginning at 9:30 a.m. until service time. For the complete obituary, click here.

Pictured top: Billy G. Ward at the dedication of the Ernest Ward Middle School in 2015. Pictured below: Billy Ward and his wife Louis, Ward tossing a first little league pitch in Walnut Hill, Ward at during a WWII honor flight in Washington, D.C. (including with Sen. Bob Dole, and the Billy G. Ward Century Courthouse. photos. Pictured inset: Escambia County Judge Billy G. Ward in an undated photo.


23 Responses to “Former Escambia County Judge Billy G. Ward Of Walnut Hill Passes Away”

  1. Jerry Burroughs on May 22nd, 2020 9:58 am

    The Burroughs Family would like to extend their respects to the Ward Family. I had the pleasure of working with Judge Ward both as Public Servant and as a Rotarian. Judge Wards commitment to Walnut Hill and to North Escambia County will most likely never be surpassed. He will be sorely missed.

  2. Old Coach on May 22nd, 2020 9:50 am

    While Century High School was still in business the Escambia County Social Studies Department sponsored Law Day. This allowed American Government students to attend a regular scheduled court day. Judge Ward always was on board with program. He enjoyed having students in court witnessing a court proceeding.

    Always friendly and open to questions. It helped that I knew Judge Ward from my Little League career and also in high school competing against Ernest Ward.
    He was an honorable man.

  3. Nancy Miller on May 21st, 2020 10:15 pm

    On behalf of myself, my brother Barry, and my mother Margie Johnson Lloyd, I want to extend our sincere sympathy to Lois Ward and her family. We are Kelly cousins. Billy was the grandson of Josephine “Pheenie” Kelly and Margie is the daughter of Bessie Jane Kelly. Pheenie was the oldest child of William C. and Sarah E. Kelly and Bessie was the youngest. Judge Billy was a revered figure at the annual Kelly reunions in Byrneville and was there most recently in April 2019, when he earned recognition for being the oldest person in attendance. He will be sorely missed at our future reunions. He was an outstanding figure in his extended family as well as in his profession, his church, and many other organizations.

  4. Craig Exner on May 21st, 2020 2:34 pm

    It was an honor and pleasure to serve with Billy G. Ward in the WALNUT HILL RURITAN CLUB. We will miss his wisdom.

  5. EDWIN S. ZEITLIN on May 21st, 2020 7:10 am


  6. Gary Cooper on May 21st, 2020 6:31 am

    Judge Ward was the most respected judge with whom I worked. He truly was a great American.
    Escambia County was well served by Judge Ward.

  7. Levan trull on May 21st, 2020 2:15 am

    Billy Ward was a good man I will always remember him outside cutting the grass and me and him racing to cut across the street from where he lived . He would always tell me at church you beat me to cutting across the street. I will miss him so much but I know that he is in heaven walking with the Lord and no more suffering for him . He is in a good place know .praying for the Ward family

  8. Terry Busbee Sr. on May 20th, 2020 10:56 pm

    My deepest condolences to the Ward family. Billy Ward was my friend and one of the most respected Judges in Florida. When the Judge retired, the County and State lost a tremendously fair and impartial member of the judiciary. When he left this Earth and went to the big chambers in heaven, not only did the Ward family lose a love one, all of us lost a true and honest Jurist. God speed my friend.

  9. Ed Joyner on May 20th, 2020 5:25 pm

    Judge Ward always was fair and equal to each one that came before his court. He always treated all police officers with the utmost kindness and respect. Praying for his family and friends.

  10. EMD on May 20th, 2020 1:36 pm

    I will always remember this judge. Once in court, once at his front door and once on the phone. I am sure he will be missed. My condolences to his family and friends.

  11. David Lee Sellers on May 20th, 2020 1:20 pm

    I was sworn in as a new lawyer by Judge Ward in 1982. He was always such a down to earth reasonable man. I admired him greatly. He more often than most of the judges (in my opinion) reached a reasonable result in the cases I had before him. I enjoyed seeing him from time to time and he always had a good story to tell. So sorry to see him pass- alas, we all must. What a great representative of our area and his community. Goodbye old friend.

  12. Gilbert and Mary McGhee on May 20th, 2020 12:44 pm

    We have had the pleasure of camping and visiting in each others homes for the past 20 years. We will surely miss him. Our condolences go out to Lois and family.

  13. Linda Sharp on May 20th, 2020 12:34 pm

    The Walnut Hill community has lost a wonderful man and public servant. My prayers are with Lois, Roy Glenn and Russ.

  14. Kathleen McCarty on May 20th, 2020 12:01 pm

    I worked with Judge Ward as a Court Clerk from 1974 until his retirement in 1988. He was very consistent and fair. I appreciated that he always showed a great deal of respect to everyone working in the courtroom: Security, Court Clerks, Court Reporters, and Attorneys. Condolences to his family.

  15. Jane Nickel Mininger on May 20th, 2020 11:02 am

    Howard and I and our family were neighbors to Billy and Lois for many years. Very good neighbors. My condolences to the family

  16. Joey McCall on May 20th, 2020 10:18 am

    When I was 14 I got a traffic ticket for driving my brothers 1965 302 Boss Mustang to school without a license. Of all the luck, they chose that day to have a license check at the school and Jimmy Davis wrote me up (as he darn sure should have). On the day of my court appearance, Judge Ward was the presiding judge. For 4 hours I had to sit there and listen to him lower the hammer on some folks yet be very compassionate and fair. My dad and I were the only two people left in the court room when he asked me to step forward. Needless to say that 14 year old boy was scared to death! He made me explain what I had done and why. Then he lectured me a little bit and pronounced my sentence. My punishment – write a three page essay on why a 14 year old boy should not be driving a vehicle without proper license. Wow, he couldn’t have thrown me in jail for three days and got his point across any better. What wisdom and compassion he showed for me that day. To this day, I believe he and my dad were in conspiracy and had it all set up that I should have to listen to 4 hours of other cases and judgements. I have to believe there are many other young men and women that probably could tell a similar story. Men like Judge Ward are precious leaders in our community and churches. He will be sorely missed. Our prayers go out to Mrs. Louis, Roy, Russ, and all the family for this great loss.

  17. Suzanne Vickrey on May 20th, 2020 9:53 am

    Great Judge and man. He used good judgment and common sense as a Judge.
    He was a please to work with.

  18. David May on May 20th, 2020 9:44 am

    What an outstanding and honorable person. When I began to practice law as a greenhorn , Judge Ward was always on the side of truth and justice , not swayed by veteran lawyers who might wield years of knowledge to somehow twist the facts or law in their favor. Straight up and righteous everytime I was before him (whether I prevailed or not). Onward to your kingdom in heaven dear sir !

  19. Sandy Johnson on May 20th, 2020 9:32 am

    I worked with him as a clerk many years ago. He was a great judge and enjoyed working with him. My condolences to the family.

  20. Rosemary Hefti on May 20th, 2020 9:20 am

    Lois, Roy Glenn & Russ,
    My heart is broken for all of
    of you. May God and your
    many friends comfort you.

  21. David and Jackie Johnson on May 20th, 2020 8:19 am

    Condolences and Prayers to The Ward Family! Judge Ward will be missed by many!

  22. Ron Cotton on May 20th, 2020 7:23 am

    One of the Best..worked in county court with him..1978-1987..made sure justice was handed out like it needed to be..

  23. DDD on May 20th, 2020 6:58 am

    My deepest condolences go out to his family, and the entire community. Always such a kind and caring man. I am saddened to hear of the loss of Mr. Ward.

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