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EIGHT BELLS - Dr. Hal Ward
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Jul 24, 2012, 3:39 PM

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Dr. Hal Ward passed away Thursday, July 19, 2012 of a heart attack. Hal was exercising in his garage on his recumbent bike and was found without a heartbeat. Hal would have been 85 in September but was in wonderful physical shape. His love of friends, skiing and fishing did not slow him down although confined to a wheelchair with Polio which he contracted in 1955 in Acapulco during spring break while attending Medical School at USC. Hal was a renown Optomologist who performed many surgeries during his days at his clinic in Arcadia. He donated his practice to USC Medical Center a few years back and it is now known as Doheny Eye Clinic.

Hal was the owner of the race boats known as Cheval. His race record with these fine yachts are unparalleled, having set the Manzanillo Record in his Nelson 68 as well as many first to finish victories in the same yacht. His most famous sailing accomplishment was winning the 1995 Transpac Race on Cheval 95, the Alan Andrews sled. Cheval broke its mast on the last jibe before crossing the Molokai Channel. He would not give up the fight though almost running aground on the reef at Ilio Point. A quick jury rig by the crew got her going the 8 knots she needed and was first to finish having beaten the new Maxi Sayonara as well as Roy Disney's new Pyewackett. Cheval 95 went on to win many races before being sold in 2000.

Hal was a friend and mentor to many of us. He was one of those rare human beings. His daily life was a challenge but he never let it slow him down. He was an avid scuba diver and skier in his sit down ski. He loved his trips to France and the wine country on his recumbent bike and in fact was training in his garage for his annual trip in the fall when he left us.

Those of us who were blessed to know him do not need an introduction to the fine human being that he was. One of his greatest pleasures was traveling to stay with Big Mikey and Erin Howard at their home on the river in Oregon and was aptly named the King Fisher for the giant Steelhead he continued to land in the drift boat.

No date has been set for services but a celebration of life will be held in the very near future at the California Yacht Club. The date and time will be posted on the Scuttlebutt website when details are finalized. Hal was survived by his wife of 60 years Joyce. By Mike Howard


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