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Founder of Milwaukee Irish Fest dies at 74 after long battle with cancer

Posted at 4:58 PM, Oct 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-14 17:58:22-04

MILWAUKEE — The founder of Milwaukee Irish Fest passed away on Sunday after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Edward J. Ward, 74, passed away Sunday after a long and hard battle with prostate cancer. Ward was the founder of Milwaukee's Irish Fest.

Milwaukee Irish Fest took the news to Facebook Sunday stating "His vision brought thousands of people together through music and art, and he's made a profound impact on the Irish-American community."

Ward founded the Milwaukee Irish Fest as well as the Milwaukee Irish Fest Foundation and the John J. Ward Irish Music Archives. He was also a part of the Wauwatosa Rotary Club and the United Ethnic Festivals.

Ward has battled prostate cancer for many years. However, back in September, Ward left the hospital and started hospice care from his home. He died peacefully with his wife Cathy, his children, and his granddaughter by his side, according to a Caring Bridge post by the family.

A visitation will be held at Becker Ritter Funeral Home, 14075 W North Ave, Brookfield, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17. There will also be a funeral mass at the Church of Gesu, 1145 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 18.

The family is asking that any flower arrangements sent don't include lilies due to a family allergy.