Celebrating the life of Thomas Lee Ward, Jr
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Thomas Lee Ward Jr., TJ, passed away peacefully at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital on November 6th 2023.
TJ was born in Tallahassee, FL in 1988 to Thomas (Tommy) and Patricia “Patty” (Shiver) Ward. He and his siblings Kevin and Sara were raised in Apalachicola. TJ graduated from Port St. Joe High School in 2006 where he enjoyed representing Tiger Sharks on the baseball field, golf course, basketball court, as well as many school activities and clubs.
He married Melanie Dufrayer on October 21st, 2017 in Apalachicola, FL. Together they shared two beautiful children, Ryan Lucia and Tate Vincent Ward.
TJ was a man of the water from a young age. He began working with his dad, Tommy and Grandpa Buddy Ward at the shrimp house, on the boats, and at his favorite place in Franklin County, 13-Mile. He took great pride in all things seafood and his name is synonymous with the industry with the easily recognized Captain TJ on the Apalachicola River Front. His son’s nickname, Spat, came from his dad’s love of oysters. Any spare moment he could find, he had a fishing a pole in hand, a joy he loved to share with his children and many others.
TJ never shied away from fun, always willing to hit the dance floor and challenge his sister to dance battles. His moves were legendary and they, along with his love of dance, were passed down to his son Tate. He loved the Florida State Seminoles and took great joy in rubbing in any win to other fans, especially if it was his Florida Gator loving brother and friends. He loved cooking and spending time in the kitchen. His favorite sous chef was his daughter, Ryan, spending countless hours cooking and making treats to share with family and friends for the holidays.
He was always willing to volunteer to help at every event and fundraiser held. From low country boils for school events, shucking oysters at benefits, and judging the Oyster Shucking Contest at the Seafood Festival each year, his heart was truly at home in Franklin County.
TJ’s great love was his family. He loved to grill, cook crawfish, and shuck oyster after oyster at family events. He could usually be found sitting at the kids table with his children and his three nieces. His happiest moments were spent with them, playing games of all kinds in the yard, hiding Easter eggs like a champ, bonfires, and practical jokes (someone was always to have frosting on their face at a party when he was there). He always said the prayer at dinner, grilled, cooked amazing crawfish, and shucked oyster after oyster (and they would be perfect every single time). He loved to make others happy.
TJ had the personality and charisma to make friends no the matter the situation. We could not have asked for a better father, son, brother, uncle or friend. His memory will live on in the hearts of all those who loved him and he will be greatly missed each and every day.
TJ was preceded in death by his grandparents; Buddy and Martha Pearl Ward of Apalachicola, and Dallas and Verna Shiver of Eastpoint. He is survived by his children Ryan and Tate and their mother Melanie of Apalachicola, his parents, Tommy and Patty Ward of Apalachicola, his brother, Kevin (Tara) Ward, and sister, Sara Ward, both of Apalachicola, nieces Kate, Leeah, and Hannah Ward, close friends who were more like brothers, Tyler Martina and Chase Landry, along with countless family members and friends.
Services will be held at Living Waters Church in Apalachicola, FL on Saturday, November 11th, 2023. Visitation for family will be at 1:30pm and for all others at 2:00pm. The service will be at 3:00pm with a grave side ceremony immediately following.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to an account that has been set up for TJ’s children, Ryan and Tate Ward, at Centennial bank.
Charles McClellan Funeral Home, Quincy, FL., 850-627-7677, is in charge of arrangements.
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