Eastpointe school board member remembered for involvement in community

By: Maria Allard | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published November 4, 2022

 Keith Ward

Keith Ward


EASTPOINTE — “I don’t think there’s a person out there that loved this district more than Keith Ward did,” Eastpointe Community Schools Board of Education President Jon Gruenberg said when remembering his colleague.

Gruenberg took time at the end of the Oct. 10 Board of Education meeting to speak about Ward, who died Oct. 6. Ward, a member of the Eastpointe Community Schools Board of Education, was diagnosed in March with sarcoma, which is considered a rare form of cancer.

“Before he got on the board, I knew him as a band parent. He was a band parent and a very, very passionate band parent,” Gruenberg said.

“Sometimes, you have a preconceived notion of how somebody’s going to be when they get up here at the board table. Sometimes, you think that somebody who is that passionate as a band parent is going to be up at this table pushing band, band, band all the time,” Gruenberg said. “That was not the case. What I discovered more about Keith at that point was his pure love of the district. He’s going to be missed, but his memory will live on in this district and his love of this district will live on.”

Ward was a 1985 graduate of East Detroit High School, and his wife, Jennifer Ward, graduated in 1988. According to his obituary posted at www.legacy.com, Ward was 55. The website states that, while a student, Ward was a dedicated member of the band and a talented saxophone player.

As an active Eastpointe resident, Ward would often be found coaching his children and nephews’ sports teams, including baseball, basketball and softball. At Eastpointe High School’s graduation ceremony in June, Ward received the Distinguished Alumni of 2022 award from the district for all that he had done for the community.

On Oct. 6, the same day that Ward died, the district was honored with the “Capital Improvement Award” for Eastpointe during the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 Salute to Excellence Awards. A dinner was held at Eastpointe Manor, and the Eastpointe Community Schools superintendent, Christina Gibson, reportedly accepted the award in memory of Ward.

“Keith Ward was a fierce champion of our schools. His passion for East Detroit and Eastpointe schools led him to be a dedicated advocate for students as a parent, band booster president, volunteer, and then as a school board member,” Gibson said in a prepared statement. “Keith’s love for his family and for our community will be long remembered, and he will be greatly missed by our entire school community.”

Services for Ward will be held Nov. 12 at the Eastpointe High School auditorium, 15501 Couzens Ave., near Nine Mile Road and Gratiot Avenue. The memorial gathering will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. with a service at 1:30 p.m.