A Saturday funeral has been scheduled for an Oak Ridge soldier killed in southern Afghanistan by a suicide car bomber last weekend.
The funeral for U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Michael Ward, 24, starts with a receiving of friends from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Weatherford Mortuary in Oak Ridge.
A celebration of Chris’ life will follow at 12 p.m. Family and friends will have a chance to share their stories and memories of Chris. Full military honors will be provided.
Following the services, the family will welcome friends to their home in Oak Ridge, the obituary said. In keeping with Chris’ wishes, his body will be cremated.
The blast that killed Ward on Saturday, April 6, also killed two other soldiers, a U.S. Department of Defense civilian, and a diplomat. They were delivering textbooks to children at a new school in Afghanistan.
The blast also critically wounded Kelly Hunt, 33, a public diplomacy officer for the U.S. State Department and former part-time copy editor at the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Ward was born in Arcadia, Fla., and he attended Oak Ridge High School during his junior year. He enlisted in the Army at age 17.
His mother, Oak Ridge resident Joyce Ward, said her son had served twice in Iraq, and this was his first tour in Afghanistan. He was a few weeks away from his 25th birthday.
“He embraced the military life with enthusiasm,” his obituary said. “Even as a fresh recruit, he was viewed as a leader. Chris was proud to be an American and proud of his country. He often said he worked for the people of the United States, and his service overseas was for the freedom of the American people.”
The obituary said Ward was very athletic and enjoyed all types of sports as well as the video game “World of Warfare.”
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Daniel W. and Erna L. Scott, and paternal grandmother, Karen Sue Ward.
In addition to his mother and father Michael Howard Ward, he is survived by brothers, Matthew Ward of Oak Ridge and Travis Ward, a student at the Spartan College of Aerodynamics in Tulsa, Okla.; paternal grandfather, Howard L. Ward and wife Nancy of Arcadia, Fla.; uncles, Carl D. Sexton and wife Sandy of Wartburg, and James Ward; aunts, Patricia Hicks and Ivory Sexton of Oak Ridge, Athena Mendez and husband Mario of Arcadia, Fla., and Michele Meyers; and many cousins, extended family, and his military family.
The family asks that memorials be made to Stitched in Prayers, Trinity United Methodist Church, 201 Church Street, Smithfield, VA 23430.
An online guest book can be signed at www.weatherfordmortuary.com.
The other two soldiers have been identified as Spc. Wilbel A. Robles-Santa, 25, of Juncos, Puerto Rico, and Spc. Deflin M. Santos Jr., 24, of San Jose, Calif.
The diplomat was Anne Smedinghoff, 25, of Chicago. She was the first American diplomat to be killed on the job since Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others were killed last Sept. 11 in an attack on a United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.