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In Memory of our Founder, Ed Ward

Donate in Memory of Ed Ward to CelticMKE  Donate in Memory of Ed Ward to CelticMKE  Donate in Memory of Ed Ward to CelticMKE


In memory of Edward J. Ward, visionary and founder of Milwaukee Irish Fest, donations can be made to either the Tommy Makem Cultural Legacy Fund or to the CelticMKE Talent Development Fund, per Ed's request.

Tommy Makem Cultural Legacy Fund

 

 

As a tribute to this friend of CelticMKE, we have established the Tommy Makem Cultural Legacy Fund to award an annual grant or scholarship that promotes a living legacy of Irish Music and Culture.

Help us fund this lasting legacy for a legend and a dear friend. Consider our giving levels outlined here, and make your donation online by clicking the button above. You are also welcome to mail a check made out to CelticMKE: CelticMKE, Attn: Tommy Makem Fund, 1532 Wauwatosa Ave., Wauwatosa, WI 53213.

CelticMKE is a 501 (C)3 Non-Profit organization. Your donations are tax deductible.

Talent Development Fund

 

 

CelticMKE will honor his memory and his legacy by continuing to carry out his vision of promoting the Irish culture throughout the Midwest. To do so, Ed helped us establish the Talent Development Fund, which will allow us to create a high-performance, sustainable organization that helps meet our strategic and operational goals through professional development and succession planning. This fund will enable us to attract, motivate, and retain productive, passionate staff members and volunteers, whilst assisting them in achieving their potential, so that we can succeed and grow. 

CelticMKE is a 501 (C)3 Non-Profit organization. Your donations are tax deductible.


 

About Ed Ward

What originated as the seed of an idea for a three-day event to celebrate Irish music and heritage in a city known for its German roots has emerged into a thriving year-round organization centered on the mission of preserving and promoting all things Irish in the Milwaukee area and beyond. For nearly four decades, Ward brought people together through music, art and community. Over the years, the festival grew to become the largest Irish festival in the world, with over 100 acts across 17 stages and more than 100,000 attendees.

In addition to Milwaukee Irish Fest, he also founded the John J. Ward Irish Music Archives in 1992 and the Milwaukee Irish Fest Foundation in 1994. He served as the executive director for the first 11 years, served as board president for four years, was a permanent member of the board, and led the festival entertainment committee as chairman.

Ward’s influence and legacy stretches far beyond the festival and its organization. He played a role in connecting with and supporting other Irish festivals across America as well as Irish musicians around the world. He established communications and fostered relationships to elevate Celtic culture with various entities in the U.S., Ireland, Canada and Scotland. He was a trailblazer whose ideas, advice, guidance and mentorship left an imprint on the Irish-American community. Ward has enriched so many lives and has been an infinite source of inspiration.

The staff, board members and volunteers at CelticMKE extend their condolences to the Ward family. "We have lost a true champion of Irish and Celtic music and culture. More importantly, we’ve lost a dear friend," said Linda Clark-Klibowitz, board president for CelticMKE. "His impact will be felt in the Celtic community around the world for decades to come. We offer our sincere condolences to Ed’s family and to all those who have been touched by his kindness over the years."

CelticMKE will honor his memory and his legacy by continuing to carry out his vision of promoting the Irish culture throughout the Midwest, about which he was so profoundly passionate. CelticMKE encourages friends and followers to send thoughts, memories and condolences to rememberinged@celticmke.com.

Ward is preceded in death by his son Brendan and his brother Chuck. He is remembered by his wife Cathy, sons Patrick, Sean (Melissa) and Conor, daughters Caitlin (Jimmy) and Kelly, granddaughter Moira, brother Jack (Margaret), sister Colleen Kennedy (Tom), and sister-in-law Cathy.

A visitation was held at Becker Ritter Funeral Home (14075 W North Ave, Brookfield, Wisconsin) on Thursday, October 17, 2019. The funeral Mass was held at the Church of the Gesu (1145 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee) on Friday, October 18, 2019.

Donations are appreciated to the CelticMKE Tommy Makem Cultural Legacy Fund or the Irish Fest Talent Development Fund.

Full obituary can be found at Ed Ward’s CaringBridge profile page.

 

 


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CelticMKE | 1532 Wauwatosa Avenue | Milwaukee, WI 53213-2623 | Phone: (414) 476-3378 | Email: info@celticmke.com

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