We are closing the Elder Taylor Ward Contribution page. Thank you to all who have contributed and who have sent your warm condolences. The pain the family feels will never go away but the love and compassion they have felt from all of you have strengthened their testimonies. My testimony has been strengthened as well. I wish all of you a Happy New Year. Make sure you say, "I love you" to your loved ones every opportunity that you have. Here is a final message from the Ward Family that they wanted to share with you...
"It has been four months now from the passing of our son Taylor. I would like to tell everyone who has helped and been there for our family Thank You! All of the donations and prayers that have been said on behalf of my family have been greatly appreciated. I don't know how we would have been able to get through this without the gospel in our lives. Knowing that the savior has died for us to be able to live again with our father in heaven; is a great comfort. And knowing that through the atonement and being sealed as a Forever Family that we will one day be able to see Taylor again. I would like to tell you of a passage that our Prophet President Monson said in his conference talk about the passing of his dear wife.
"Of utmost comfort to me during this tender time of parting have been my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge I have that my dear Frances lives still. I know that our separation is temporary. We were sealed in the house of God by one having authority to bind on earth and in heaven. I know that we will be reunited one day and will never again be separated. This is the knowledge that sustains me."
He has stated the way that I feel for my son. That one day with the blessings of the temple and being an eternal family; that we will only temporarily be apart that we will see him again."
I wanted to share some pictures I took at Taylor's Memorial Hockey Skate from Sept. 21st. Trevor, Taylor's father, is wearing Taylor's jersey to honor him. Lots of teammates came out to play in his honor along with friends and family who came for support. Brandon, Taylor's brother, is the goalie. One of Taylor's jersey's was framed and donated by the family to the ice skating rink. The manager of the ice skating rink permanently painted Taylor's #4 under the ice, "Ward #4". How cool is that?!
I also wanted to let you know that each of you have made the grieving process a little lighter. It's been a little over a month now and while they have their bad days, they do have happy moments as you will see in these pictures. They are finding joy through cherished family time and peace through the gospel.
This website only allows for 3 photos. I will post another with more...
I've been thinking a lot about Elder Floyd (Taylor Ward's companion) and his family. This is a very difficult time for him and his family. It is an everyday emotional struggle. Elder Floyd has decided to stay strong and continue on his mission (he has one more year). I know some of you have written to me asking what else you can do. If you can make the time, it would mean so much to me and the Ward family if you would send your love and support to Elder Floyd. I really believe if people write to him it will help heal him. It can be as simple as emailing him and saying, "We are praying for you".
Idaho Pocatello Mission Home
1246 N. Yellowstone Ave. F-3. Pocatello, ID 83201
The service yesterday was beautiful. We had 21 missionaries early in the morning ready to help with any task needed, including lots of other members of our ward and stake. The chapel, overflow, and cultural hall were filled with people that loved Taylor. My guess would be about 400 people were in attendance.
The service was of course was very sad, but at the same time uplifting. As family, friends, and members of the church spoke about the life of Taylor you couldn't help but smile at how he has made such a positive impression on all who knew him. I was especially impressed by his brother's talk. Nothing was prewritten. Brandon spoke directly from his heart and he even made us laugh. I can see so many of the wonderful qualities in Brandon that Taylor had. The musical selection of, "Good Night and Good Morning" sang by three talented members of our ward was amazing. I could feel the spirit through their voices. This is when I really started to cry.
The concluding speaker was Elder Kent F. Richards (Quorum of the Seventy). As he spoke, you could feel the spirit guiding him as he chose what words to express to the family. His talk was very uplifting as he spoke about the plan of salvation and how Taylor is continuing his work in Paradise. He talked about Eternal Families and how Taylor is looking forward to being with his family. He also talked directly to Brandon and Krista. What he said to them was personal and positive. He also read a letter from the First Presidency that was very special. This made me cry too.
After the service we went to the burial at Vacaville-Elmira Cemetery. Family, many friends, and Elder Richards also came. Touching words were expressed by Trevor and Deidre.
After the burial there was a luncheon for family and close friends back at the church. Trevor prepared a slideshow of Taylor that included precious photographs from birth all the way to missionary pictures (taken off of Taylor's camera). After the slideshow the family shared a recording that was prepared by Elder Floyd (Taylor's missionary companion). On the recording was Elder Floyd playing guitar singing the song they had written together. Some of you may know that Taylor was taking guitar lessons from Elder Floyd so that he could surprise his mom. He had purchased a $40 guitar while on his mission.
Thank you to all who were able to attend (especially those who traveled very far) and all who helped make this memorial beautiful for Taylor and his family.
Please continue to include the Ward Family in your prayers. Please also include Elder Floyd and his family in your prayers as they too are struggling emotionally.
The viewing today went well. Taylor had beautiful flower arrangements (many from Idaho) and beautiful framed artwork of Christ and of the Idaho Temple (gifts from Idaho). All his Hockey uniforms and many trophies were on display. The family had a hockey stick there for people to sign. His missionary journal was there and I had fun reading my favorite parts to visitors. I liked the sunglasses in Taylor's pocket that was placed there by his companion, Elder Floyd (they had each purchased sunglasses the morning of the accident). I also liked the "Eat-More" Canadian candy bar that was tucked away in the casket.
I especially enjoyed seeing the familiar faces of my ward and stake family, visiting with Taylor's extended family (Aunt Debbie from Canada had sweet stories she shared with me), and visiting with those who traveled far. I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry and Jody Bregg and their son Erik who flew in today. Their son Michael was Taylor's MTC companion. I had the opportunity to meet President Anderson and his wife who drove from Idaho. I also met Brother and Sister Furniss (Elder Ward and Elder Floyd lived with them) who also drove from Idaho. It was so special to give each of them hugs and to feel their love for Taylor.
I had the privilege of picking up Elder Floyd's Mom from the airport today, Marietta Floyd, who is staying with our family for one night. She flew in all the way from North Carolina! I am so happy that she has decided to come for the funeral. I admire her courage and strong testimony of the gospel. I look forward to introducing her to everyone at the funeral.
Please continue to keep the Ward family in your prayers. The funeral is going to be a rough day for all of them but I know with certainty that it will be a beautiful service and a beautiful tribute to an extraordinary missionary.
I want to thank nitrographicsonline (located in Pocatello Idaho). Sandra Rice (owner) offered to make the program cards with matching thank you's and her daughter Mindy (co-owner) custom designed the card. It's so beautiful and amazing. I cried when I received them in the mail today. I love Sandra and Mindy for making it easier for us. Their time and talents were donated and we appreciate their love and charity.
I know some of you are traveling as far as across the country to attend Taylor's Funeral and the Ward Family is truly touched by everyone's love.
I had a visit with them today and they are surrounded by many family members, many from Canada! All of them are super nice! They seem to be doing well and are taking one day at a time. They of course have their ups and downs but because of each of you who are praying and sending your love it gets them through the day. I had the opportunity to see his missionary photos Taylor took, the guitar he bought for $40 on his mission so his companion Elder Floyd could teach him how to play (with the help of Elder Floyd, he wrote a song for his Mother as a surprise - so sweet, huh?), and his treasured journal that made me laugh and cry (mostly laugh). I held it close to my heart and treasured the feeling of the spirit.
I am so overwhelmed by the love and support so many people have for Taylor and his family. In the beginning I was hoping to raise $500 for this family. I never imagined that it would be close to $8,000 in 1 day! This website has reached 6,996 people in 24 hours! Facebook (the internet) has made it possible to reach people that don't even know Taylor or his family but are so touched by his story they want to help. I am also very touched by the many people who have donated that are not of our faith, but by the power of love are contributing. One donor said today, "Sending all my love. Wish I could do more." I told her that I understand the feeling of wishing you can do more. I then told her that she has done more than she realizes and that she is an angel. I don't want to take credit for the donations because I may have started the website but each of you are angels for the Ward family. Each of you have given them the support they so badly need and have given them more blessings than they could have ever imagined. On behalf of Taylor and the Ward family we thank each of you for your donations and especially for all your prayers.
I want to share Taylor's favorite scripture that is engraved on his missionary plaque:
"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."
This scripture is from the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ. If you have never read The Book of Mormon, one way of honoring Elder Taylor Ward is to prayfully read it and ponder for yourself the truths within it.
If you have read The Book of Mormon, you can honor Elder Taylor Ward by reading it again. This is President Gordon B. Hinckley's promise to all of us who read it:
"Brothers and sisters, without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God."
If you are wondering, "What is a Mormon?" "What do they believe?" This is a great website that will answer a lot of your questions:
It was a blessing that I had the opportunity to take your portraits. I was always close friends with your Mom but it was on this photo shoot that I was able to get to really know the sweet and amazing person that you are. You and I shared a car ride and that's when I really got to know you and I was so impressed by your maturity, humor, thoughtfulness, outlook on life, strong testimony, everything. I expressed to my family and your Mom later that I was so overly impressed by you. At the time of your accident I was taking pictures of a sister missionary (who is leaves next week on her mission) on the very same rock you sat on in these images. I remember at the time there was a strong wind that was blowing through (which was not good for the sister missionaries long hair). As the breeze touched me and I could feel the spirit. My heart aches but I am so comforted in knowing that you are so extraordinary and perfect that Heavenly Father needed you in Heaven to continue your mission there. You are sealed for Eternity with your family and you will all be together again someday in the Celestial Kingdom.
P.S. I love the one where you are laughing at your Mom. I also love the one of you looking up from your scriptures because I remember asking you to think about what your mission was going to be like and how amazing it was going to be to baptize and change people's lives forever.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Called to Serve July 2013 - July 2015 Serving the Idaho Pocatello Mission
family is deeply saddened by the the tragic loss of an extraordinary
young man who gave his life to serve The Lord. We love Taylor and our
hearts go out to the Ward family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
Please help the family We are trying to raise some money to help with the expenses of traveling from CA to Idaho and to Canada (where most of the extended family lives). The money will also greatly help with other costs such as the funeral expenses.
Police Report On September 3, 2013, at approximately 5:55 p.m., the Idaho State Police
investigated a two-vehicle fatality crash on State Highway 39 at
milepost 43, near Rockford. A 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, driven by John
Floyd, 20 of Deep Run, North Carolina, failed to yield from a stop sign
at the intersection with State Highway 39 and 100 South in Bingham
County. The Cruze was struck on the passenger side by a 2010 Ford F350,
headed southbound, driven by Joshua Morris, 23 of Blackfoot. Floyd
was transported to Bingham Memorial Hospital for his injuries, his
passenger, Taylor Ward, 19 of Vacaville, California, was transported to
Portneuf Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injuries.
Morris was not transported due to his injuries. All occupants were
wearing their seatbelts.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Member of the Vacaville 3rd Ward, California
Called to Serve July 2013 - July 2015 Serving the Idaho Pocatello Mission
"I really only have one hobby in my life and up in-till recently it
really was my life. That hobby is the great sport of ice hockey. I say
it was my life because before I decided to go on my mission I left home
for the first time in my life and even went to a different country to
try to fulfill my dream of going and playing in the NHL as a pro. But
while I was there The Lord told me that I needed to go back home and go
on a mission even though it was only half way through the season. Now a
lot of people especially my teammates and coaches from past teams have
asked why I would give up on that dream especially When I had a good
shot of making it. My answer is because the Lord has called me to do
this marvelous work and I dare not miss this glorious opportunity that
will allow me to come closer to god and allow others to come closer to
him as well." --Elder Taylor Ward
My sons and I had the pleasure of sharing the ice and dressing room with Taylor quite a few times. I was always struck by his warm polite manner, helpfulness and sincerity. When I think of the men I would like my sons to become, he is the sort of person who comes to mind. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family in this most difficult of times.
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