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A graduate of Tulsa Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, John Henry Ward was an All-State football player and undefeated heavyweight state champion. He also played basketball and baseball in high school. Ward was a two-sport star at Oklahoma State University, (OSU). He was a two-time Big Eight Conference champion wrestler, and finished third at heavyweight at the 1969 NCAA Championships. In two seasons, Ward won 35 of his 40 bouts. A 6-foot-4, 260-pound offensive tackle for the Cowboys, Ward was named to the Associated Press’ All-America Team in 1969. In 1970, Ward was picked in the first round of the National Football League Draft by the Minnesota Vikings where he remained through the 1975 season. Ward suited up for the Chicago Bears and the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976. During his six-year, 78-game NFL career, he played tackle, guard defensive tackle, and was part of two Super Bowl teams. Following football, Ward spent much of his adult life dedicated to public service, while continuing his love of the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing.