Obituary of Christel Ward
Christel Ward passed away July 14, 2021 at the age of 88 after a short stay in the hospital and
hospice. Christel was a living, breathing novel of amazing life stories. Born January 31, 1933 to
Margarete and Emil Wittmann in Bad Nauheim, Germany, she emigrated to the U.S. in 1956
after surviving World War II despite losing her mother and father, and older brother Rudolf to
the war. Through ingenuity and hard work, Christel and her sister Rene were able to remain in
their childhood home and ultimately pass it down to later generations who continue to live
Christel fell in love with her devoted husband of 65 years, Robert, undoubtedly impressed by
his roller skating dance moves and musical talent. In addition to her husband, she leaves behind
a loving daughter Laona Ward (Tom Sheaffer), son John (Ruth) Ward, grandchildren Leslie
(Edenilson) Da Silva, Jacob, Graham and Nicholas Ward and great grandson, Anthony Da Silva.
Christel was an extraordinarily kind and loving person who always put the needs of other’s
before her own. She loved the Catholic church and her parish with all her heart and was a
devoted member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Palm Bay, Florida. Although no longer
physically able to attend mass in her last year, she insisted on watching on-‐line every Sunday.
Christel was a talented professional seamstress. Working from home, wedding dresses and
various other garments hung throughout the house which was often bustling with people
coming and going for fittings.
Passionate about food, Christel was a terrific cook, particularly German cuisine. Her
sauerbraten and rouladen with spätzle were legendary and cherished by all those fortunate
enough to experience it. Nobody enjoyed a delicious pastry more than her. You could always
count on a shy grin as she took the first bite of her famous German tart or plum cake. Feeding
people gave Christel great joy and was a trademark expression of her love.
A “sports nut” doesn’t adequately describe Christel Ward. It was impossible to sit next to her at
an Ohio University football game without becoming embarrassed, unless of course you were
one of her girlfriends who together made more noise than the student section. Later in life,
everyone knew not to interrupt her while watching the Miami Dolphins and Hurricanes and
odds are there wasn’t a greater fan of the Orlando City soccer club.
The family would like to thank the amazing people at Palm Bay Hospital and William Childs
Hospice House for the care they provided as well as all those that said a prayer for her during
her tough ordeal.
A private mass will be held at Our Lady of Grace Church with burial at St. Joe’s Catholic
Cemetery in Palm Bay, Florida on July 30, 2021. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial to
The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida https://www.cfocf.org/christelward/ …and maybe
think of her the next time you enjoy a special meal