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1934 Sheila 2023

Sheila Ward

July 4, 1934 — October 1, 2023

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Sheila Hanly Ward, a compassionate and dedicated registered nurse, a gifted bonsai artist, and a devout Catholic. She touched the lives of countless individuals during her time with us, leaving
an indelible mark of love, care, and faith.

Sheila Hanly Greenberg Ward, 89, of Austin, Texas, passed away on October 1, 2023 from natural causes surrounded by loved ones. Sheila was born on July 4, 1934 in Tipperary, Ireland to the late Denis and Winifred Hanly. She was a beacon of warmth and kindness throughout her life.

She followed her calling to become a registered nurse, a profession where she dedicated herself to the service of others. After training at Crumsall Hospital in Manchester, England from 1952-1955, she became a Registered Nurse Of
England and Wales on December 2, 1955. Her unwavering commitment to providing care and comfort to those in need earned her the respect and admiration of both her colleagues and patients.

Sheila moved to the United States and married her first husband Jack Greenberg, a writer and historian. Jack had taken up bonsai as a hobby, sparking Sheila’s interest in the art form. Jack passed away in Half Moon Bay, California in 1984.

Through bonsai, Sheila met her second husband John Terry Ward from Gatesville, Texas, a bonsai artist as well as landscape gardener for the Japanese Gardens in San Mateo, California. They were married on April 28, 1990 at Our Lady of the Pillar Catholic Church and lived in Half Moon Bay, California. As a couple, Sheila and Terry began studying bonsai with local and visiting artists and were instrumental in founding California's still active annual Shohin Bonsai Seminar in Santa Nella, CA.

Sheila and Terry moved to Austin, Texas in 1993 and soon after opened Persimmon Hill Bonsai, a local bonsai nursery and learning space. Classes and events were held at Persimmon Hill under their native oak and juniper trees, and together they ran and created many ongoing Bonsai events still in effect today such as the annual Kathy Shaner Seminar and the Shohin Society of Texas. Sheila and Terry were founding members of The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit and served on the board as well as becoming caretakers of many bonsai in the society’s collection for decades.

Sheila created and taught about bonsai and Kusamono, the artistic display of grasses and understory plants which can accompany bonsai, and also enjoyed creating and teaching about making handmade pots for these Kusamono. She was recognized with her husband Terry as important bonsai teachers, and would give programs to her local club, Austin Bonsai Society, as well as bonsai groups throughout Texas as well as State Conventions. The Wards closed up their business Persimmon Hill Bonsai in 2013, but remained active in the community.

Sheila was a top notch hostess and always put together the best parties and gatherings, making guests feel at ease. Though she was a small woman in stature at just 5’1” tall with a quiet and reserved soul, she was a tenacious one as well and when pressed, Sheila would share her opinions, but always with tactfulness and grace.

Sheila was also a devoted Catholic with profound faith. She found solace and strength in her religious convictions, attending Mass with commitment and participating in various church activities. Her faith was a source of inspiration to her loved ones, as she lived out the principles of compassion, forgiveness, and love in her daily life. She was a loyal member of the Legion of Mary and an Eucharistic Minister. She found a great love in helping those in need. Sheila traveled to most of the Catholic Churches in the Austin area, always ready to pray the rosary and take Holy Communion to the homebound.

As a couple, Sheila and Terry would make frequent trips to the Davis Mountains in West Texas where they would vacation in the high desert landscape. They loved tasting and experiencing local wines and were part of a group of wine connoisseurs. They moved to Ledgestone Senior Living in South Austin in 2021 and Terry passed away in May of 2022. Sheila loved watching hummingbirds on her balcony overlooking the Hill Country rolling landscape, finding comfort in nature.

A funeral service will be held on October 16, 2023, 10am at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church. (230 Post Oak Drive, Dripping Springs, TX 78620) Friends and family are invited to come together to remember her. Another gathering celebrating her life will also be held in the Bluebonnet Room at Ledgestone Senior Living (13150 Four Star Blvd, Austin, TX 78737) on October 22, 2023 at 2pm.

Sheila will be deeply missed but will forever remain in our hearts as a shining example of dedication, talent, and unwavering faith. May she find eternal peace in the loving embrace of the Lord. Rest in Peace, Sheila.

"Her life was a testament to the power of love, faith, and compassion.”

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sheila Ward, please visit our flower store.


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