Cover photo for Dr. George Thomas Ward Sr.'s Obituary
Dr. George Thomas Ward Sr. Profile Photo
1938 Tom 2024

Dr. George Thomas Ward Sr.

August 2, 1938 — March 31, 2024

Harkers Island

Dr. George Thomas Ward Sr., 85, of Harkers Island, passed away Sunday, March 31, 2024, at Carteret Health Care, surrounded by family.

Tom, as he was known, was born on August 2, 1938, in Asheville, North Carolina, to the late Walter and Nell Ward. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, Captain, and lifelong friend to many. He was an active member in each of the many communities he lived, a list which includes: Asheville, NC; Winston-Salem, NC; Virginia Beach, VA; New York City, NY (Governor’s Island); Novato, CA; Elizabeth City, NC; Cape Cod, MA; Tarboro, NC; and Harkers Island, NC. After so many moves, Tom and his late wife Judy of 42 years found their lasting home among cherished friends in Tarboro.

Tom was a member of the Coast Guard and U.S. Public Health Service for over 32 years. He was promoted to Captain, the highest rank available to a dentist, at age 38, a rank he would maintain for 15 years. He couldn’t have been more proud to serve his country, helping fellow servicemen and women with the utmost dedication, and he was excellently regarded by all. Early in his dental career he helped pioneer new tooth whitening techniques and was called upon in times of crisis as a trusted expert in forensic dentistry. He was also the most gentle and caring dentist many of us ever knew, both in the dental chair and beyond.

Tom retired from the Coast Guard in 1992, continuing in private practice in Tarboro, NC, a town he and his late wife Judy loved. They were active members of the community, and deeply involved in various organizations. He was a cherished member of the Calvary Episcopal Church in Tarboro, where faith guided his actions and relationships. As a local member of the Rotary Club and American Legion, he took great pride in contributing to and supporting other people, professionals, and fellow military veterans in the local community. He embodied the Rotary motto “Service Above Self” and treated his every role very seriously.

Tom regarded his family and friends simply as “family”. He had a warm heart and open dinner table to everyone. He always had a funny one-liner, even sometimes the same one-liner, and loved to make people laugh, usually joining in himself. Being thoughtful brought him great joy. Stories of his “little acts of kindness” span a broad range, loved ones and casual acquaintances alike. He was patient, kind, forgiving, respectful. He listened, and he cared. He was an amazing father and grandfather to his family, a father figure to many others. He was and is a role model many of us still try to emulate. You could always depend on Tom.

Growing up, Tom and his brother Walt were close from the beginning, and together they conquered childhood and school. Walt was always on speed dial for a quick chat, wherever they were in the world. During one family vacation, with the unwitting help of Tom’s adoring niece Karen, they even made the first introduction between Tom and his future wife Judy.

As a father, Tom was the original family man. His favorite place to be was with his family. He drove his family across country (twice!), savoring every state, every site, national park, countless KOA campgrounds, and visiting every extended family member along the route. He started his workday hours early so he could be present in the afternoons. He was a patient little league coach, a persistent waterski captain, a tireless driver to and from various schools and activities, an ardent advocate for the Ward “big family breakfast”, and the most dependable caretaker of the Ward family he could possibly be.

Tom was a proud Demon Deacon, having graduated from Wake Forest in 1960, before earning Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1964. He always carried a giant Wake Forest thermos for endless hydration. Even after his military career, he always woke up early, and he loved to kayak off Harkers Island to await the sunrise.

He was a respected member of the Dental Association of North Carolina, the American Dental Association, the Commissioned Officers Association in the U.S. Public Health Service, Wake Forest Alumni, and UNC Dental Alumni.

Those remaining to cherish his memory are his sons, Dr. George Thomas Ward Jr. and wife Scarlett of Harkers Island, James Martin Ward and wife Christina of Cary, North Carolina; grandchildren, Calvin Ward, Jillian Ward, Zander Ward; step-grandchild Gage Willis; and niece Karen Ward-Kaplan.

In addition to his parents, George was preceded in death by his wife, Judith Martin Ward; and his brother, Walter A. Ward, Jr.

A memorial service to honor George’s life will be held at 1 p.m., Friday, April 12 at Calvary Episcopal Church in Tarboro, NC. Interment will follow on church grounds. The family will receive friends from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., Thursday, April 11 at Munden Funeral Home in Morehead City, NC. To view the memorial service please go to the YouTube page of Calvary Tarboro Communications.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Calvary Episcopal Church, 411 E. Church Street, Tarboro, N.C. 27886, or the Edgecombe County Memorial Library 909 N. Main Street, Tarboro, N.C. 27886.

Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences at

Arrangements by Munden Funeral Home & Crematory in Morehead City, NC.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. George Thomas Ward Sr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, April 11, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Munden Funeral Home & Crematory

2112 Arendell St, Morehead City, NC 28557

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Friday, April 12, 2024

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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