Dr. Ward Robert Anthony was born in Denver on April 28, 1924, a third generation Coloradan, and departed this life on Oct. 13, 2016. After graduating from Regis High School, he entered the U.S. Navy, and was stationed for training at Bell Labs in New York, and then Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, during World War II. The machinery he worked with was based on very early computers.
After the war, he took advantage of the GI bill to further his education. He very much appreciated that his country gave back to him in this way. He took a broad-based, pre-med course at the University of Colorado in Boulder. At Creighton University he gorged on history, English literature, psychology, and especially philosophy. He graduated with honors from medical school in 1954, interned at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Denver, and began a solo practice in Denver. He was later joined by Dr. Daniel R. Lucy, and they maintained a joint practice in Wheat Ridge for more than 30 years. His caring and compassionate nature along with his unique diagnostic abilities drew patients from all over the Denver area.
During medical school, he married his first love, Doris Mary Hammes. Together they had 11 talented and vivacious children who taught and challenged each other. Into the mix came many foreign exchange students, possibly as many as 100, which provided educational opportunities to both the visitors and the family. There was a tragic, late divorce and subsequent second marriage to Betty Bunn. He was widowed a few years later. He stayed close to his children, and they were always first in his heart.
Following his retirement from medical practice, he became reacquainted with Mary “Betsy” Elizabeth Crepeau. She had been a nurse and he was her family’s doctor. When she was in the Peace Corps in Africa, she wrote to him. This sparked a late-life romance, and he traveled all over the world with his then beloved third wife, Betsy Crepeau, who provided him with 21 years of marital bliss and companionship.
It was a very fulfilling personal relationship that kept him energized and involved throughout retirement. They had a home in Boulder and a cabin in Red Feather Lakes, and were politically and socially active in both communities. They loved hiking, spent months in Italy, explored the Mediterranean, picked blueberries in Alaska, and brought various cultures and ideas together. Ward and Betsy were involved in many civic activities including work with the Hunger Project, Smoke End 2000, the Democratic Party, Victim Assistance Advisory Board, and Beyond War.
In the 1990s Ward and Betsy traveled with a few other local doctors to Nepal where they conducted free medical clinics for outlying communities in the Himalayas. During his medical practice, Ward mounted a campaign against the Catholic Church’s stance on birth control. He was not afraid to speak out about injustice, greed, politics, health care, and environmental protection. He held signs on street corners, and wrote frequent letters to the editor. He was passionate about education, science and philosophy, and worked with Betsy to teach others how to create a better world.
He lived a productive, long life, and died peacefully in his Boulder home surrounded by family. He and Betsy went into hospice care together, and died as they wished, just days apart. He is survived by 10 children, six step-children, and a plethora of grandchildren, nieces, nephews and great-grandchildren. We will miss his repertoire of songs, his belly laugh, his letters to the editor, and his philosophical probing. He made a difference on our planet.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to TRU Community Care Hospice in Lafayette, Colorado (TruCare.org).
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