Richard Ward

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We are very saddened to let you know about the passing of one of our founders, Richard Ward, on Easter Morning, April 4, 2015.  Richard was an excellent and respected attorney who mentored a number of attorneys, most of whom have remained as part of Sullivan Ward Asher and Patton.  He will be missed by all of us. Mr. Ward’s Memorial Service was recorded by the church and is archived on their website.  It can be listened to or watched by following this link and the instructions:

  • Click on Multimedia
  • Click on Archived Services (to the right)
  • Sermon Title:  Richard G. Ward Memorial Service
  • Sermon Date:  Tuesday, 4/21/15

He is survived by his wife, Donna Anderson Ward; his children, Susan and Mark and Mark's wife, Dorothy; and his grandchildren, Hannah, Dylan and Emma; and Donna's sons, Jay, David, and Kent Anderson.

He loved to play golf, and traveled all over the world, although New York City was his favorite place. He was an avid reader, and a wonderful storyteller.

He was born in Detroit, MI, attended Cooley High School, graduated from Michigan State University, and then fought in the Korean War. Afterwards he graduated from Wayne State University Law School. He loved the law and loved being an attorney.

In the early 1960s Richard Ward was asked to join two other lawyers who were practicing law in Detroit. Under his leadership as Managing Partner, that firm grew and expanded its practice areas and geographic reach eventually becoming a regional and then nationally recognized law firm. Now known as Sullivan, Ward, Asher & Patton, P.C., it is one of the largest and oldest firms in Michigan.

Richard led the Firm's Aviation Law and Products Liability practice. He gained a national reputation as a tough and smart trial lawyer representing companies such as Beech Aircraft and Piper in many trials across the United States, winning cases against some of the best plaintiff attorneys in the nation. Because of his skills and ethics, he was awarded the highest rating by Martindale Hubbell, a nationally recognized lawyer rating service. In addition, Richard was even honored by those lawyers against whom he tried cases, being awarded the Michigan Association of Justice's highest award, the Respected Advocate Award, which recognized him as a skillful and ethical defense trial attorney.

However, the enduring legacy of Richard Ward as an attorney will be his role as a colleague, mentor, and friend to the dozens of lawyers with whom he practiced. Richard's door was always open with it being known that he always had time to counsel and teach. In November of 2014, Richard was honored by the entire Firm at its annual dinner for his leadership and years of service.

Richard's memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 21st, in the Chapel at Moorings Presbyterian Church in Naples, FL where he was an active member. The address is 791 Harbour Drive, Naples, FL 34103.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The First Tee,, an organization that uses golf to teach young people the values of honesty, sportsmanship, and integrity. Or, donations can be made to the Distinguished Speaker Series at Moorings Presbyterian, a series that Richard organized and coordinated for several years.