In 1902 Ben Ward was born "in Sammy Green's house on Perkins Road, about 3/4 of a mile from where I live now," he remembered in the early 1980s. He graduated from Urbana High School in 1921. A lifelong resident of Urbana, he was a janitor at Lewises and the University of Illinois for a total of 55 years. He also worked for two years during World War II in a defense plant in Toledo, Ohio. "I was always ready for work."
He enjoys reading, "mostly Western stories." He says, "I enjoy being old. I get some breaks in my expenses - 10% off on a lot of things. We do need more and better housing for older persons. The waiting list to get into an apartment is too long. I could be dead before I get into one. One disadvantage of being old is that relatives think you're a swell guy, but they don't have time to help you much. Another disadvantage is that you can't
do all the work you once did, but I can still do a lot. Am taking care of myself and can make my own decisions. Younger people should not make decisions for us. Old does not mean senile."
Source: Raymond Bial, There is a Season, Champaign County Nursing Home, 1984.