IRON MOUNTAIN – Ward T. Alquist, 94, of Iron Mountain, passed away peacefully on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, after a brief illness at the Oscar G. Johnson V.A. Medical Center.
He was born on April 7, 1919, in Iron Mountain, the son of the late Axel and Lillie (Hedlund) Alquist.
He was a 1936 graduate of Iron Mountain High School, and after graduation attended New Mexico State in Silver City, N.M.
Ward enlisted in the New Mexico National Guard in the 111th Calvary Regiment. This was one of the last horse-mounted regiments. The 111th was re-designated the 200th Coast Artillery in 1941. He went on to enter the United States Army and become an aviation cadet. Ward furthered his military service and entered the United States Marine Corp on Oct. 30, 1941. He then completed officers training in Quantico, Va., among our country’s best and most highly trained officers. His military career led him to the South Pacific during World War II with the 1st Marine division.
1st Lt. Ward Alquist was honored with numerous gold and bronze stars for his skill and courage and was authorized to wear the combat “V” for combat heroism.
After the war, Ward furthered his education at the University of Michigan, graduating in 1947. He then returned home to Iron Mountain where he met and married his loving wife LaVaughn Markell on Sept. 25, 1948, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Iron Mountain. Together they raised three children, Rand, Brian and Alison.
Ward co-owned the Markell Roofing Co. for more than 40 years. He was a past president and founding member of the Dickinson County Community Theatre, directing and performing in a great number of theatre productions.
He was also a 45-year board member at the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Community Federal Credit Union and had served on the Iron Mountain School Board. Ward was a current member of the Uren-Cooper-Johnson American Legion Post 50 and an active member of Trinity United Methodist Church. He was a former member of Pine Grove Country Club.
Ward was a loving family man and a well-respected citizen of our community. He was highly regarded as a gentleman who thoughtfully greeted everyone with a warm smile and sincere handshake.
Ward leaves behind his eldest son, Rand (Lori) Alquist; his daughter, Alison (Tom) Rae; daughter-in-law, Julie Alquist; sister, Dorothy Johnson; grandchildren, JoAnna (Jon) Blomberg, Elisabeth, Jared, Christen, Miles, Joshua, Moriah, Daniel and Ryan Alquist; and two step-grandsons, Nick and Garrett TeKampe. He also leaves behind his sisters-in-law, Lona (Phil) Crispigna and Sandy Markell; his brother-in-law, Robert (Ann) Markell; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 64 years, LaVaughn; son, Dr. Brian Alquist; daughter-in-law, Laurie Mayer Alquist; brother, Kenneth Alquist; brothers-in-law, Lloyd Johnson and Leighton Markell; and mother-in-law and father-in-law, Fern and Gail Markell.
Visitation will be Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church.
Funeral services will follow Friday at 1 p.m. at the church. Rev. Paul Mallory will officiate.
Burial will be in Cemetery Park. Graveside Military Rites will be accorded by the Uren-Cooper-Johnson American Legion Post 50.
Condolences to the family of Ward T. Alquist can be expressed online at www.ernashfuneralhomes.com
The Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.