Shirley Eberlin Ward


Shirley Eberlin Ward of Vineyard Haven died on Feb. 10, 2015. She was 98.

Upon graduation from Wellesley College, Shirley joined the cancer research team at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City. With the onset of WW II she enlisted in the Navy, and was sent to Harvard and MIT for training as a radar technician. One of the few woman radar technicians in the Navy, she spent two years in California repairing and upgrading electronics on Navy warships. Once discharged, she worked as a research chemist for American Cyanamid, helping to develop sulfa drugs.

Shirley moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 2009 from Connecticut.

Predeceased by her husband of 36 years, Richard Ward, Shirley continued with her love of travel and adventure. All told, Shirley visited more than 90 countries, as well as most of the United States. Her adventures included hot-air ballooning over the Serengeti, whitewater rafting down the Colorado River, viewing penguins in Antarctica, and cruising to Alaska. She took her last big trip at the age of 87, and then took great pleasure in sharing her thousands of slides with schoolchildren and seniors alike.

Shirley is survived by her four children and their spouses: Marylyn Ward of Seattle, Richard Ward of Huntsville, Utah, Sandra Ward of New York City, and Eleanor Wilson of Vineyard Haven. She has three grandchildren: Alex Johnson of El Cerrito, Calif., Michael Wilson of Vineyard Haven, and Lisa Wilson of Seattle.

Shirley kept a small piece of paper with her that aptly summed up her long and wonderful life: “I worked hard, loved well and laughed heartily. Therefore, I face whatever lies before me with a sense of satisfaction and completion.”

A memorial service is planned for the spring.