SHEPHERDSVILLE - Family and friends of former Shepherdsville city clerk Neva Ward shared smiles and tears as the city hall council chambers were re-dedicated in Ward’s honor.
A new plaque is now displayed in the chambers officially declaring the area as Neva Ward Hall.
Ward served as city clerk for six mayors between 1976 and 2000.
The declaration was made official by Mayor Sherman Tinnell, who worked with Ward during a previous tenure. Tinnell was unable to attend the ceremony but prepared a statement presented by city code enforcement officer Jim McAuliffe.
“Neva was not only my co-worker; she was a dear friend, whom I shall never forget,” Tinnell said in the statement. “It is a privilege to honor Neva this night, by naming the city council chambers after one who truly has been an inspiration to all who worked with her.”
McAuliffe researched Ward’s family history, dating back some 200 years in Bullitt County’s history. He mentioned the ordinance in which Ward was first appointed as city treasurer.
“After reading about her, I feel like I know her,” he said. “I truly think this is a fitting tribute to someone who gave so much to her community.”
Ward was the youngest of nine children. Two surviving brothers, Kenneth and Ralph Lutes, attended the ceremony. Ralph is a former Mount Washington mayor.
“(Neva) was always an outgoing person, very friendly,” said Kenneth. “We always had a close family.”
Ward’s sons were in attendance, including David and Jerry Croan and Ronald and Donald Ward. The sons officially thanked the city of Shepherdsville for the honor bestowed upon their mother.
Also pleased with Ward’s honor were former clerk’s office co-workers Connie Rice and Gaynell Rummage.
“She passed on a raise once so city employees would get their insurance,” Rummage recalled. “She watched every nickel. We balanced the budget to the penny.”
“We couldn’t go home until every penny was found,” said Rice. “She was hard but professional. She really helped financially. The city is better off financially now.”
Rice credited Ward with teaching the office staff ‘good scruples’ and always maintaining a higher level of professionalism.
“We were public servants,” said Rice. “She reminded us of that quite often.”
“We waited on customers at lunchtime,” said Rummage. “We were there to help. For (Ward) it was all about the city.”
The co-workers agreed that Ward earned every honor she received.
“She was the best non-elected mayor the city ever had,” Rummage said.