Ella Mae Sutherland Ward

10/09/1915 –


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  • Funeral Service
Date: 04/06/2020
Time: 2:00 pm
 – 3:00 pm
  • Graveside Service


In support of our city officials and the health of our community, no other guests will be allowed to attend the in-person event at this time. A live stream of the service is available and a recording available for thirty days, sign a virtual guestbook, share memories and expressions of sympathy all options available on the tribute page.

Ella Mae was born on October 9, 1915, in Temple, Oklahoma, to Reverend Jefferson Monroe and Lula Christian Sutherland. Her father was instrumental in leading her to accept Christ as her savior at the age of six years. She was born into a family of twelve being the next to the youngest child. She and her family moved from Temple, Oklahoma to Walters Community and settled in Petersburg, Texas, at the age of nine years. She graduated from Petersburg High School at the age of sixteen years. She married Charlie Ben Ward on November 12, 1933, in Clovis, New Mexico, where the young couple lived until moving to Ropesville, Texas, in 1938.

Ella Mae taught at the Baptist Mexican Missionary for sixteen years, after which she taught Sunday School at Ropesville Baptist Church for thirty-three years. She served on the board of the local Baptist Church of The Baptist Women’s Union and the W. M. U. South Plains Baptist Association for many years. In 2014, she received a plaque honoring her 75 years of service with the Lion’s Club of Ropesville.

She attended South Plains College after her children were grown and married. She was a substitute teacher at Frenship ISD for ten years. Ella Mae, as a music enthusiast, learned to play the piano. She was a seamstress and made children’s clothing. Ella Mae also enjoyed working in the yard, canning, bird watching, traveling, and fellowship with friends and loved her family.

Survivors include her children, Gerald Ward, and wife, Genell; Sandra Ayers; son-in-law, Jimmy Jameson Sims; seven grandchildren, Steven Sims and wife, Laura; Alisa Rae Collier, and husband, the late Kirk Collier, Julee Reardon and husband, Rick; Jill Teran and husband, Rick; Keith Ayers and wife, Jamie; Sonya Hill and husband, David; and Keila Ketchersid and husband, Tanner; fourteen great-grandchildren, Kristin Schweers and husband, Brandon, Shannon Ware and husband, Matt; Charlie Abram and wife, Ashleigh; Lindsey LeFevre, and husband, Brennen; Landry Teran, Amber Stafford, Ashly, Jacob, and Hannah Ayers; Hope Estrada and husband, Jeff; Kallie, Tye, and Rylan Ketchersid; Kerry Collier and wife Elizabeth, Kami Sutton, and husband Randy, and eleven great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Reverend Jefferson Monroe and Lula Christian Sutherland; husband, Charlie Ben Ward; daughter, Charlene Doris Sims; son-in-law, Ronnie Ayers; and great-grandson, Jeremy Ayers.


The family of Ella Mae Ward has designated the First Baptist Church of Ropesville for memorial contributions donated in her memory.

Celebration of Life


19 thoughts on “Ella Mae Sutherland Ward”

  1. Karen Beaty Spruill

    Heaven has gained another angel. What a honor to have known Ella Mae so well, she was a second mother to me and our families spent so many good times together. Regardless what happened I knew Ella Mae and Charlie would be there for me. Sandra and Gerald, my heart is breaking for you and your wonderful families. God bless all of you, I’ll be with you in spirit.

  2. So very sorry for your loss. Ella Mae was a remarkable woman who will be greatly missed. When the boys were born (2004) she brought us a bag of apricots she picked from her tree (at age 89), and for years after she would remember to tell the boys happy birthday when her apricots got ripe. Just an amazing lady and we were all blessed to know her.

  3. Brenda J Hampton

    Very sorry for your loss. I really enjoyed talking to Ella Mae at the family reunion in 2016 in Palo Duro Canyon. She was always so lively. I know that she is rejoicing in heaven. She had a wonderful life serving the Lord! She was a great example of how to live a good life. My mom (Phyllis Ward Brown) always enjoyed visiting with her too and Ella made a special attempt to reach out to me at mother’s funeral in 2015. The world lost a great lady.

  4. Sandra,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your Mother. I have always heard so many wonderful things about her from my Mom. Praying for you and your family during this difficult time.

  5. I am so sorry for the loss of Ella Mae What a wonderful Christian lady She will be missed by so many I have lots of good memories of the times our families spent together during my time living in Ropesville Wish I could be there with all of you May you lean on God in this difficult time My love and prayer to all the family

  6. My sincerest condolences, Ella Mae lived such a full life and left a legacy of love that we all could see, even with the smallest bits of time to get to know her/

  7. Mrs. Ward exemplified what a true Christian lady is. She loved God and working in church for many years. Sandra took her to Sunday School and Church every Sunday until she went into assisted living. We will all miss her but are rejoicing that she is In the arms of our Lord and Savior now. Sympathy and much love to the family.


  9. What a remarkable lady! So many wonderful memories sharing vacations with the families in our Ropes community. Ella Mae was one a kind. Enjoyed my many visits with her over the years. Terry Jack

  10. Rodney Fletcher

    Ella Mae was my great aunt on my father’s side of the family. The last several years as we talked on the phone she related to me several things about our family I was unaware of. I always enjoyed talking with her. My thoughts are prayers are with you all at this time.

  11. Such a very sweet lady. Enjoyed many years of working with her in WMU and G.A. camp..

    Then enjoyed working with her sweet daughter, Genelle in G.A, Camp. Such a sweet gracious family.

    Loved working with Mrs. Ward in WMU and G.A camp for many years. She was such a lovely lady to work with. A lady that truly loved to do work for the Lord. Then getting to work with her beautiful, lovely daughter , Genelle, in G.A.CAmp

  12. Such a beautiful tribute for a wonderful and classy woman who has touched so many lives and embodies the true definition of a Christian woman.
    My prayers to all her family and may her memories keep you all strong and close.

  13. Judy Gregg Martin

    What a beautiful lady inside and out! She lived and walked the walk on a daily basis as a Christian example for all that knew her. I remember learning a lot of bible verses in VBS because of her encouraging leadership. It was always fun to go home from church on Sunday with Sandra and spend the afternoon. Praying for all the family.

  14. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sims family during this difficult time.

    David and Sandy Cogdell

  15. We are so sorry to hear of Aunt Ella Mae’s passing. What a long and wonderful life she lived, she will truly be missed by us all. We are so sorry that we were unable to attend the services. We just want you all to know that our thoughts and prayers are with the whole family.

    With Love,

    Lee, Randa, and Alec Cain

  16. A very special thank you to Santos and Lakeridge for allowing us to attend Ella Mae’s service by live stream. She was such a special person. I was blessed, as so many of us, to grow up in church with her. In recent years it was fun to visit with her when running into Sandra and her in United. One of my many favorite things about Ella Mae was the way she looked intently in my eyes when she would ask questions. My mom just loved her. What a welcome Ella Mae received by family and friends when she left us here on earth. She was one of a kind and will never be forgotten. Love and prayers to all the family. Helen Cain Milligan

  17. I have so many great memories of our families taking trips together and spending so much time at her house with Sandra. She was such a sweet lady and so helpful to our family in times of need. My thoughts and prayers go out to Sandra, Gerald and the rest of the family.

  18. Ed and Mary Whitehead

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you for the loss of your mother and grandmother, Ella Mae. May our Lord comfort you and give you peace during this sad time. She was a remarkable lady who loved her family very much.

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