Posted Date: 05/18/2022
For over twenty years, Livingston ISD has chosen Scholarship Night activities to pay tribute to the Outstanding Graduates of our schools. In previous years, over 100 graduates of either Livingston High School or Livingston Dunbar High School have been honored for their commitment to enhancing the lives of others.
These honorees have included many of our greatest achievers, but more than that, the list contains people that wherever they chose to call home, made their community better through their compassionate actions. An individual is honored who shares the common trait of giving to make the next generation better, stronger, and more caring.
Edward Ward Jones was a 1947 graduate of Livingston High School and a graduate of the University of Texas. After graduating from UT Law School, he turned down two prominent positions to return to Livingston and practice law. He was a prominent attorney in Livingston for over forty years. He held a Texas Real Estate Broker’s License for over fifty years and remained active in the fields of real estate investment and management until his death on May 5, 2021.
One year after passing the bar exam, Ward was hired by Livingston Abstract Company to examine the titles to property sought to be protected by title insurance. Livingston Abstract Company was one of the oldest agencies for Stewart Title Guaranty Company, and Ward represented it for a total of forty years. He was one of the very few agents in the state of Texas with unlimited authority to issue title insurance policies in any amount, sometimes in the millions of dollars, without special authorization by the company. While still a young lawyer, he also invented one special exception and provision to be placed in Texas title insurance policies now in state-wide daily use, commonly called “the visible and apparent easement” exception. Mr. Jones later bought Livingston Abstract Company and owned it for years. He was first elected criminal district attorney of Polk County in 1956 and re-elected in 1958.
Ward achieved Eagle Scout status as a boy and later served as a scout leader in Livingston while his son was in Boy Scouts. He served fourteen years in active duty and reserve programs in the United States Air Force as Senior Master Sergeant, the second-highest rank held by enlisted personnel. His last duty was four and a half years as First Sergeant of his squadron. He was the past commander of the Livingston Hale-Sellers Post #312 of the American Legion and its funeral honor guard.
Ward and his wife, Billie, were married sixty-six years. As both of his children grew up in the community, he was a very conscientious concession stand volunteer for Little Dribblers, Little League, and Livingston Band Boosters. They chartered a family-limited partnership where their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were made legal partners. They trained many of their family members to work in the management of their family business.
Ward was an active member of Rotary International from 1956 until his health no longer permitted his participation. He was a past president of the Livingston Rotary Club. He and his father were the first father-son members of the Livingston Club. He was twice named a Paul Harris Fellow, and the Rotary District 5910 named him to their Hall of Fame. He was past president of the Polk County Bar Association, Master Mason of Trinity Lodge No. 14, and a member since 1950. He was a past trustee and president of Murphy Memorial Library and Museum, a member and director of Polk County Chamber of Commerce, and named Polk Countian of the Year in 2019. He was appointed as the government of appeals agent for Polk County Draft Board No. 102 by three separate presidents of the United States. Livingston ISD is proud to honor Edward Ward Jones as the Outstanding Graduate for 2022.