Kevin P. Ward, 58, a lieutenant and Chicago Fire Department member for 27 years, died August 28, 2023, in the line of duty as the result of injuries sustained fighting a house fire on August 11, 2023. He died peacefully with his family around him.
Kevin was born in Oxford, England, the son of John F. Ward and Valerie J. (Carney) Ward. He was preceded in death by his mother and is survived by his father; his stepmother, Beth Ward; sister, Karen (Wren) Aislinn; and nephew and niece, Keegan and Piper Aislinn. He married Corrinne Walenda in 2004 and, though now divorced, they remained close friends.
Kevin grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan in 1986. After a decade of adventures which included working as an options trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a ski resort employee and hotel chef in Colorado, and a commercial fishing deckhand on a boat out of Alaska, he proudly joined the Chicago Fire Department in 1996. In his 27 years with the department, in addition to fighting fires, he spent periods of time in specialty roles, such as EMT, Lake Michigan rescue, and HAZMAT at O’Hare Airport.
Many of Kevin’s favorite activities over the years involved action with an element of risk mitigated by thoughtful attention to technique—rock climbing, sailing, skiing, wind surfing, and scuba diving. Firefighting had a similar appeal for him, as well as providing a stable career, comradeship, and an opportunity for service to the community. Over the last few years his sporting interest focused on underwater hockey, where rigorous training allowed him to compete with players much younger than himself. Kevin has designed and blown art glass, in a studio/workshop with apparatus he constructed himself, with many of his friends enjoying examples of his work that he gifted to them. He also acquired a broad set of design/engineering skills including machining and welding. As an example, this included rebuilding the engine of a Porsche car that fulfilled a lifelong dream.
Kevin planned to retire with his German Shepherd, Skye, in Colorado where he owned a cabin. He would have used his excavator to prepare the foundation for his new workshop. Rising above this idyllic cabin is a rocky outcrop, from the top of which one can look out to Denver and the Great Plains to the east and see peaks of the Continental Divide to the west.