Elsie Maxine Ward


May 8, 1930 – February 17, 2021

Elsie Maxine (Zanetell) Ward, 90, a long-time Monte Vista resident, passed away peacefully at the River Valley Inn, on Feb. 17, 2021, three weeks after a debilitating stroke. Born to Henry and Elsie Zanetell, in Aguilar, Colo., Maxine was the fourth of five children.

The family moved to Pueblo, Colorado, in 1941 and she graduated from Central High School, Class of 1948. Her first job was a switch board operator for Bell Telephone Company.

On Sept. 2, 1949, she married Kirby Ward, who had graduated from Central High a few years earlier and had been serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. A year later the couple had their first of three children on the same day Kirby got recalled to active duty for the Korean War. They lived in base housing at El Toro Air Base until Discharged from active duty and returned to Pueblo.

In 1965 the Ward family moved to Monte Vista where they quickly made the San Luis Valley their home and lived there for 40 years. During that time Maxine, worked for Fassett’s Department Store and when they closed, she worked for Southwestern Auto Supply.

For many years she taught Sunday School for the younger kids at the Church of Christ. She always managed to have delicious snacks for the kids because as she put it, “Kids have a hard time paying attention when they are hungry.” 

On doctor’s advice that a lower altitude would be beneficial to Kirby’s health, they moved to Meridian, Idaho, near daughter Debby, her children and grandchildren where they lived for 15 years. Upon the passing of her husband in April of 2020, Maxine moved, “back home to the Valley,” as she called it, and was in residence at the River Valley Inn until her passing.

Many who knew Maxine over the years have commented that no matter what their association with her, employee, co-worker, friend, wife, mother, Sunday School teacher, that she will always be remembered as “kind, gracious, loving, and considerate.” 

Maxine was preceded in death by her husband of 70 years, Kirby, her three older brothers Larry, Tom and Marvin Zanetell, and her younger sister Gloria Antonelli.

She is survived by her three children, Marvin “Zeke” Ward, Debby Fraker, and Dallas Ward, six grandchildren, a bunch of great-grandchildren, and a couple great-great-grandchildren and extended family.

There are no plans for a memorial service at this time, but the family is considering a memorial service for both Kirby and Maxine sometime in June.

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