An era in modern Roslyn history ended last week with the death of Marshall Ward, the only living descendant of the Ward family to still live in the village.
“Marshall was a good friend of mine,” said Village of Roslyn Mayor John Durkin. “He was instrumental in fighting off Stop n’ Shop’s attempt to build a store within the Village. His passing represents a great loss to the community.”
Ward was a descendant of the family of Ellen E. Ward, of whom the village’s most famous landmark, the Roslyn Clock Tower, is named for. The Ward family was instrumental in the formation of Roslyn throughout the 19th century, an era of service that culminated when two of Ellen’s sons served in the Union Army during the Civil War.
To this day, the Clock Tower remains the symbol of Roslyn and the importance of the Ellen E. Ward lives on in a plaque at the front of the tower. “In loving memory of Ellen E. Ward, A.D. 1895, to whom Roslyn and its people were dear. She fell asleep January 18, 1893,” the plaque reads.
Marshall Ward was not a native of Roslyn, even though he did grow up on Long Island. Born in Bridgeport, Conn., Ward moved with his family to first, Glen Cove and later to Locust Valley, where he graduated from Locust Valley High School. After high school, he studied acting at the American Academy of Theatre and Arts in New York City.
In 1986, Ward moved with his wife, Mary, to Roslyn to a house on East Broadway.
In Roslyn, he became active in local affairs, most significantly with the previously mentioned opposition to the proposed Stop & Shop supermarket, a mid-1990s public donnybrook surrounding on what to do with 11 acres of land off Skillman Street in downtown Roslyn. The Stop & Shop proposal was ultimately defeated and the Board of Trustees set up a committee to draft a new Master Plan for downtown construction, one that settled on commercial properties, such as the Atria at Roslyn Harbor complex. Around the same time of the Stop & Shop controversy, the village, in 1995, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Clock Tower.
Mary Ward said that her husband, like many of his neighbors, enjoyed antique restoration. He worked his adult life as a carpenter, often on projects that would take him back to Manhattan.
“He loved Roslyn Village,” Mary Ward told The Roslyn News. “He was proud to be a Ward family member. He was very much involved with what was happening in Roslyn. He was my hero.”
Ward was survived by two brothers, Jeffrey of St. Croix and John, who lived in Georgia.
Services took place last week at Archangel Michael Church, Port Washington. Interment was at the Roslyn Cemetery, where Ward was laid to rest with many other notables from Roslyn’s history.