Maxwell Thomas Ward was many things to many people - a son, brother, partner-in-crime, confidant, and friend. He was born July 31, 1987 in Kansas City, Missouri to parents Philip Thomas (P.T.) and Nancy, joining older brother, Andrew.
From an early age, his larger-than-life personality was evident, drawing people to him wherever he went. He attended Nativity Parish School where he formed friendships that would see him through his life.
He continued his education at Rockhurst High School where he expanded his friend group, got involved in basketball and Spirit Club and excelled academically. He quickly became the friend that everyone was happy to have on their side and was, as always, the life of the party.
After Rockhurst, Max became a Kansas Jayhawk where he studied mechanical engineering and joined the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Throughout his school years, Max was a friend that could be counted on for support and played an integral role in making everyone’s time with him memorable.
Following graduation, Max began his professional career with Kiewit. He continued to flourish, earning both his professional engineering license and a promotion to Lead Process Engineer in 2016.
Max’s family and friends remember him for his generosity, radiant smile, and ability to live with passion and purpose. Though he is gone, he will never be forgotten.
To Celebrate Life and Help Engineer a Brighter Future for Those with Cardiovascular Illnesses.
The purpose of the Maxwell T. Ward Foundation is to raise funds to help local children with cardiovascular illnesses get the medical attention they need. Funds will be raised at events that celebrate Max’s life and the spirit with which he lived it.
Max suffered from cardiovascular illnesses throughout his young life. Max’s heart issues first arose early in middle school. Max complained that his heart beat too fast even when he was seated during class. Max’s pediatrician examined him and reported that Max was fine. However, Max knew something was wrong, so his family sought a second opinion. The second opinion yielded the same results. Despite knowing something was wrong, Max learned to endure as was his personality.
During a basketball game his senior year of high school, Max collapsed on the basketball floor. Max visited an electrophysiologist, who reported that Max’s heart had reached 220 beats per minute. Max underwent an Ablation, a catheter-based procedure, to correct the disruption of the electrical impulses of his heart - a condition known as Supraventricular Tachycardia. The doctor reported that Max would now lead a normal life as results were expected to be 90% effective.
Max then began having issues with lethargy, but it was believed that they were a result of the numerous food allergies. Max’s stomach began to bloat and hurt him. He underwent an endoscopy in March 2014 to identify the source of his stomach issues. The anesthesiologist stopped the procedure short and recommended that Max visit a cardiologist because his heart was beating 35 beats per minute.
Unable to identify the issue, Max’s cardiologist referred him to an electrophysiologist. The electrophysiologist determined that Max needed a pacemaker. Max proceeded to get the pacemaker installed and was confident his heart issues were behind him.
Max passed away in his sleep on June 10, 2016 due to ventricular arrhythmia (abnormal rapid heart rhythms), that originated in the lower chambers of his heart. It was a shock to both his family and his cardiologist, who said it should have been diagnosed sooner.