Al Ward



UT Class of 1952, BA, Journalism

Daily Texan Sports Editor and multiple Award Winner. His family has honored him with the Al Ward Scholarship for Writing.

Al was the husband, father, grandpa and friend we’d be if we could write our own postscript. He will be remembered for his selfless love of family and friends, his true generosity and for his unshakable positive attitude.

“Everything is going to be all right,” was his life motto.

The third of five children born to Lula Cooper and Leslie Brewster Ward in 1927, Al grew up in Brownsville, Texas. He was known as “Old 88,” a superb football player and good student. His hero was always his mother, Lula, from whom he learned how to cook, to work hard and to love others deeply.

After high school graduation and service in the post-WWII Army, Al attended the University of Texas in Austin where he received his journalism degree. In 1953, he married his love, La Rue Jaudon, a TCU graduate also from the Rio Grande Valley. Al delighted in his role as husband and then as father to daughters Leslie & Dana. He was a devoted husband to La Rue for forty-five years until her death in 1998.

Al once said that the happiest day of his life was the day he became a grandpa. He had endless patience for each of his five grandkids-playing games, sports, answering questions or just TV-watching with them. As the grandkids grew up, he was available to lend an ear and always listened without judgement. Grandpa was physically fit and energetic until his last days and the grandkids often called him the “Legend,” which always made him laugh.

Al discovered his passion for sports writing during his college years where he was an award-winning sports editor for the Daily Texan. He began his career as a Texas sports reporter before launching his 27-year career with the National Football League (NFL). Starting as the director of public relations for the American Football League in 1960, Al moved on to join the Dallas Cowboys eventually becoming the vice president in 1972. He served as General Manager of the New York Jets during the last of the Joe Namath years (1975-1977), AFC Assistant to the President (1977-1988), and NFL ALUMNI Chief Operating Officer (1988-1990).

Al and La Rue returned home to Texas in 1990, where Al adjusted quickly to retirement in Austin. He filled his days with golf, cooking, Texas Longhorn football, grandchildren and travel until La Rue’s death in 1998.

He married wife Nancy J. Howard in 2005 and, together, the couple enjoyed years of international travel excursions.

Al is survived by daughters Leslie Jaudon Ward and Dana La Rue Strazza, wife Nancy J. Ward, son-in-law Kent Strazza, grandchildren Kate (Strazza) Esprit, Chase Isaacs, Doug Strazza, Garrett Isaacs, Cooper Isaacs and Kate’s husband Simeon Esprit. He was preceded in death by his mother Lula Cooper Ward, wife La Rue Jaudon Ward, and his siblings and best friends Joe (Zip) Ward, Les Ward, Rosie (Ward) Lewis and Barbara (Ward) Walker.


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