Evelyn Goodson Ward


Evelyn Goodson Ward, a woman like no other, passed away surrounded by love, in the early morning of Saturday, April 6, 2024 at Jackson Hospital in Marianna, Florida.​

Evelyn cared deeply for her family and was loved by many.  She was “Mother” to her beautiful children and their spouses.  She was “Maw-Maw” to her adoring grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  And she was known so affectionately as “Pee-Wee,” by her one-and-only, Odell Ward, her husband of 60 years, with whom she shared a most beautiful life.  Their bond on earth was unshakeable, and they now share an eternal bond together that will be unbreakable.

Evelyn had the strongest of constitutions – and had a vigor, spunkiness and resilience that few share.  She stared down life’s challenges with a strength that was both inspiring and endearing.

She doted on her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  She was a mama-bear who would always stand her ground to protect and defend her many beloved cubs.

She was beautiful, fun-loving and had a great sense of humor.  She was also fiercely independent, strong-willed and a little bossy.  But having the combination of all those traits is what made her so special and is why we loved her so dearly.  

Evelyn taught her family well and encouraged them all to be good people, to know the benefits of hard work, to understand the beauty of commitment and devotion, and above all, to put the love of family and friends first.

She cared for her mother, Esther, throughout challenges in her life.  Through these actions, Evelyn was a role model for her children – and, in turn, Michael, Melinda and Tammy have been unwaveringly devoted to her care throughout her times of need.  

Evelyn had a gypsy soul…she loved to plunder and explore.  At any given time, you could find her, surrounded by family, at any one of her treasured destinations: the sugary sands of Mexico Beach, Panama City Beach and Destin, the waters of Lake Eufaula and Compass Lake, the banks of the Chipola River, the mountains of Georgia, or on long walks in the back-forty of the Ward family farm.  Her family and friends always knew that no more than a week or two would go by without Evelyn looking for the next family adventure!

And now her latest, and most important journey, is her trip back home to live life everlasting with her beloved husband, “Dell” and her beautiful son, Michael.  

Rest in Paradise, Mother.  

Evelyn was preceded in death by her husband, Odell Ward and son, Michael Anthony Ward. 

Evelyn is survived by her daughters, Melinda Canuso and husband, Gabe of Destin, FL, Tammy Neal and husband, Cliff of Marianna, FL, and Sherry Pinkard of Granbury, Texas. Survivors also includes her grandchildren, Blair Sherrill and fiancé, Leah, Tiffany Grimsley and husband, Garrett, Brooke Wilson, and Heather Hughes and husband, Ryan; great grandchildren, Gabrielle, Sadie, Hank, and Cash Grimsley and Olivia and Aidan Hughes, as well as sister in-laws, Myrlene Goodson and Dot Goodson.

A private family graveside service will be held at Pinecrest Memorial Gardens with Cliff Neal and Gabe Canuso officiating and Marianna Chapel Funeral Home directing.


  1. My heart is heavy with sadness as I pen this message of condolence to Sherry, Melinda and Tammy and the remainder of Evelyn’s family. Evelyn was a very unique lady. She would do anything she could to help someone in need in her own special way. I knew her very well as we worked at AGDS for over 20 plus years. She truly cherished “Dell” and her family.. My Son Randy just wrote a book and he remembered Evelyn in it. Our families were somewhat close because of our work together at Dozier. I loved her and tried to reach out to her when she became ill. REST IN PEACE MY FRIEND, I WILL SEE YOU IN THE MORNING.


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