Rita M. Ward, 99, of North Haven, passed away peacefully at Masonicare on July 24, 2017. Born in Auburn, NY, Mrs. Ward earned her R.N. from the Auburn City Hospital School of Nursing and joined the Army Nurse Corps during WW II serving in field hospitals in England and Germany attaining the rank of 1st Lieutenant. She married the late Roy Ward, Jr., who predeceased her in 1977, and settled in New Haven to raise a family and start her career.

During her many years of nursing as a valued member of the Hospital of St. Raphael’s staff, Mrs. Ward was the Head Nurse of the Intensive Care Unit, several medical floors, and the pediatrics ward. The highest compliment she was paid was by the people who knew, and appreciated, her uncompromising standards of health care excellence. To a person, and there were scores of them, they would say: “if I were in the hospital, I would want you to be my nurse.”

She was a member of St. Barnabas R.C. Church and the Catholic Nurses Association. She maintained a wide circle of friends of all ages, enjoyed travel, reading, Kent cigarettes (reluctantly, she quit cold turkey 25 years ago), UCONN Women’s BBall, an Old Fashion (or two!), and shopping for just the right outfit.

Mrs. Ward was also an outspoken advocate for women’s rights in healthcare choices, equal pay, and career opportunities, long before the word “feminist” entered our lexicon. She could argue politics with the savvy of an MSNBC analyst.

She is survived by her son LeRoy Ward and his wife Patricia, of Madison, CT, two granddaughters, Erin Ward of Denver, CO, and Caroline Ward of Manhattan, and a brother, Donald Musico, of Dunedin, FL. Mrs. Ward’s daughter, Rebecca, passed away in 2012.

Family and friends are invited to go directly to Saint Barnabas Church, 44 Washington Avenue, North Haven on Wednesday August 16 at 10:00 am to attend a Mass of Christian burial. There will be no visiting hours. Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Rebecca Ward ’69 Scholarship Fund which provides financial support to a young man or woman pursuing a career in Spanish secondary education. Attn: Greg Crerar, Southern CT State Univ. Foundation, 501 Crescent St., New Haven, CT 06515. The North Haven Funeral Home, 36 Washington Avenue has been entrusted with the arrangements.