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John Quentin Ward

John Quentin Ward, 70, of Amarillo, Texas, passed from this life on March 19, 2024. A Funeral Service will be held at Hillside Christian Church – Amarillo West Campus on Monday, March 25, 2024, at 1:00 p.m. Rev. Darrell G. Brown and Rev. Tommy Politz will be officiating the service, with a private burial. The visitation is scheduled for Sunday, March 24, 2024, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. at Boxwell Brothers Funeral Home in Amarillo, Texas.

John was born on July 14, 1953, into a loving family in rural Borger, Texas. He was the youngest of three children and was adored by his sisters, Dena and Kay. John was a cotton-headed country boy who loved playing Little League baseball and being outside. He was his dad’s shadow, always following him around and learning useful skills, whether it was tinkering around the garage, tending to the family’s garden, or working on the house. John and his dad also shared a love of golf and played many rounds together on the course down the road from his childhood home.

It was in first grade when John met Kel Seliger. They played basketball, went on double dates, and ultimately graduated together in 1971. No one could have predicted that Kel would become Mayor of Amarillo with John as City Manager.

When roaming the neighborhood with his friends, John would always be called home by his mother honking an antique car horn. John worked any odd job he could find and used that money to purchase his beloved green Firebird. His sisters say that John may have thought he was in trouble, but they remember him rarely ever getting into much trouble at all!

Nieces and nephews remember thinking John was a giant in their eyes! When the family gathered in Borger for Christmas, John’s nieces and nephews would wait with impatient excitement for his arrival. Everybody thinks they have a cool uncle, but to them, he was the coolest! Christmases were a highlight, but summers were a blast for John’s nieces and nephews.  John always accompanied them on their annual summer trip to Wonderland in Amarillo, where he made sure each of them rode the amusement rides until they were too tired to walk. Uncle John will forever be remembered by his nieces and nephews for his infectious laugh, his smile, and his words of wisdom when they sought his advice.

John enrolled at West Texas State University and played on the basketball team as a freshman. His original plan was to major in math and physics, then he changed his focus to graduate in both business and public administration in 1974. For a while, he considered going to law school but discovered the Southern Regional Training Program which accepted bright applicants for specialized training in public administration. John took the challenge, attending classes taught at the University of Alabama and the University of Tennessee. He graduated with a master’s degree in public administration in 1976.

He returned to Amarillo that year, working as an Administrative Analyst for the city until late 1979 when he was promoted to Assistant City Manager. Four years later, the city manager retired, and John was offered the job despite being only 29. At the time, he may have been the nation’s youngest manager of a city of Amarillo’s size.

During his tenure as City Manager, he oversaw a city with a budget exceeding $100 million, employing over 1,500 full-time and more than 300 part-time employees, making it Amarillo’s sixth-largest employer. His love for Amarillo was evident in how well he managed the city’s daily operations while also focusing on its future development. Over his 21-year tenure as City Manager, Amarillo gained three new libraries, six new city parks, two new golf courses, a tennis center at John Stiff Park, and a youth baseball complex. In addition, the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation was developed, the airport terminal building was renovated, the city’s water supply reservoir was guaranteed for 300 years, the 911 emergency communications district was initiated, the Amarillo Zoo was expanded, Northwest Texas Hospital was constructed and sold, and the Downtown Revitalization Organization Center City was established. Amarillo saw the addition of the downtown bus terminal and the construction of police and court buildings, along with three new fire stations and the Fire Administration building.

When John was City Manager, he met Donna DeRight. After John retired from the City of Amarillo, John and Donna remained friends. In 2011, their relationship deepened, and John realized that Donna was the true love of his life. Donna felt the same way, ultimately leading to their marriage on February 16, 2013. Together, they cherished the best moments of their lives, enjoying the home and graciously sharing it with family and friends.

In 2004, John went to work for Maxor National Pharmacy Services as Chief Executive Officer.  This reunited a unique pair, as former Mayor Jerry Hodge was the founder of Maxor National Pharmacy Services. While Pharmacy Services were relatively new for John, he learned the business quickly. Leveraging his strategic visioning abilities, John played a pivotal role in expanding Maxor into a nationally recognized company with a coast-to-coast presence. With John’s educational background and his experience as City Manager, he was able to anticipate market dynamics and capitalize on increasing Pharmacy Benefit Services. He used his people skills to harness the full potential of Mr. Hodge’s team, maximizing profitability. Complementing Jerry’s business acumen, John’s leadership served as the ideal

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for the company. Together, their combined expertise propelled Maxor along a path of profitability and growth.

John spent his last years with Hodge Management Group. This business venture allowed John to continue to use his wisdom and business sense through a variety of investments. John enjoyed going to the office every day, meeting friends, and planning the next business opportunity.

John led a fulfilling life, marked by numerous achievements and the love of his wife, Donna, and stepdaughter, Kristin. He found joy in golf and watching various sports. While he cherished his family, he also appreciated quiet evenings at home. His extensive wisdom will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Ozline Ward. He is survived by his wife, Donna; his stepdaughter, Kristin; his sister, Dena Bailey and her husband, John; his sister, Kay Willerton; and a host of nieces and nephews and other loved family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in John’s honor to John Ward Public Administration Scholarship Fund, West Texas A&M, WTAMU Box 60765, Canyon, TX  79016.
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