With new FEMA money, county can buy all Oso mudslide tracts November 19, 2015
Timber company loses bid to avoid Oso mudslide litigation November 2, 2015
Interior secretary at Oso: Funding needed for scientific research October 16, 2015
Timber company says it bears no responsibility in Oso mudslide October 2, 2015
Judge limits extent of claims in Oso mudslide litigation August 26, 2015
Victims of Oso mudslide still await buyouts, 16 months later August 3, 2015
Oso survivors pay forward support they once received July 13, 2015
Couple shared tragedy, loss of Oso, but found love July 5, 2015
Oso mudslide trial pushed to June 2016 July 2, 2015
Study: Real cause of Oso mudslide still unknown June 27, 2015
She had a warm spirit that could put people at ease, said Vickie Bligh, a longtime friend and former co-worker.
Ward, 58, died in the March 22 mudslide that destroyed the Steelhead Drive neighborhood. Her husband, Oso Fire Commissioner Timothy Ward, 58, was injured but survived.
“She loved Tim to death,” said Bligh, of Marysville. “He was her everything.”
The couple graduated from a Miami high school together in 1973. They headed west to Washington, where they raised their daughters, Tiffany Burdette and Brittany Juarez.
The Wards had five dogs. One, Blue, survived the slide.
“One of the things Brandy loved to do was walk the dogs along the river,” Bligh said. “Her whole family was important to her.”
Bligh worked with Ward for almost 20 years at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. As the hospital's cardiovascular lab secretary, Ward kept the department running smoothly.
Bligh, a nurse, recalls Ward's kindness.
“She'd be so patient with somebody who was being obtuse,” Bligh said.
Ward had a background in nursing. Doctors often wanted her help and were willing to wait for it.
“She was fabulous at the work she did,” Bligh said. “She did it and she did it well.”
Before Ward retired about three years ago, she and her husband moved to the peaceful place along the North Fork Stillaguamish River.
“It was her ideal spot,” Bligh said. “It was prototypical Northwest Washington.”
In addition to her love of the outdoors, Ward enjoyed sewing, crafts and painting.
When Bligh heard the mudslide had hit Oso, her thoughts immediately turned to Ward. Then she learned that her friend was missing.
“I wanted to go down there and start digging myself,” Bligh said. “We just kept hoping beyond hope that they'd find her alive.”
Ward remained missing until her death was confirmed on April 1.
“It's just devastating. It's like somebody hit me in the gut,” Bligh said. “Even though we were work friends, she was tightly woven into the fabric of my life. Now, there's a hole that I'm trying to mend.”
She appreciated Ward's strong character. The two would sometimes butt heads. In the end, they'd always end up laughing.
“I'll miss her big smile and her wonderful laugh,” Bligh said. “She'd just fill up a room with it.”
Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; email@example.com.
More Local News Headlines
Storm hit Index particularly hard, bringing down hundreds of trees Bridge over I-5 enters final phases Lynnwood receives $5 million to widen 196th Street Kids explain it all: 'Thanksgiving is all about turkeys' Jail might start housing Seattle inmates once again Arrest prompts tips to prevent theft of delivered packages Homeless man pleads guilty in knife attack at Lynnwood RV park Recount will decide Lynnwood race; election turnout deemed ‘discouraging’
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.