Award-winning Houston actress Detria Ward is being remembered by friends and colleagues as a talented professional and gracious soul. She died Sunday, Nov. 17 at age 57.
Her homegoing visitation is Friday, Nov. 22, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 3015 N. MacGregor Way. Her homegoing ceremony is Saturday, Nov. 23 at 11 a.m. at Good Hope.
In addition to her work with the Ensemble Theatre and other local theater groups, she was a radio talent with KTSU and announcer for half-time performances at Texas Southern University football games. She later served as general manager of Music World Entertainment was most recently the theater arts coordinator at Energized for STEM Academy High School.
“Detria Ward had a gift for telling stories through the eyes of her characters on stage,” said Eileen J. Morris, Ensemble artistic director. “She was a vibrant and gracious soul who believed in her colleagues bringing their best and was often seen mentoring or directing through a gentle nod.
“The Ensemble Theatre family will miss her tenacity, and absolute passion and love for theatre,” Morris said. “She was our jewel; a brilliant actress and teacher embraced by the community.”
Jerold LaBeaux, Ward’s agent, manager and friend, said she will be missed because she cared about people and gave them a voice to shine.
“She was a hard worker and thought outside the box,” LaBeaux said. “She found ways to make the impossible possible. She was never boastful, just humble…we shall miss that melodious voice and that infectious smile.
Actor Joe Palmore said, “It was a pleasure to be taught by her over the summers at TSU when I was in high school, then to work with her on stage as a professional. She didn’t hold any punches and had no problem telling you exactly how she felt. She was sassy and a diva in a good way, and always made sure I was on point when doing shows. This hurts…”
Ward, a native Houstonian, attended Yates High School. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater from TSU and directed several plays in the theater department. She began working with the Ensemble in the mid-1980s with the play “It’s Showdown Time” directed by Ensemble founder George Hawkins. Her final performance was in the recent production “School Girls: Or, The African Mean Girls Play.”
She won the 2013 Houston Press Theatre Award for Best Actress and numerous Giorgee Awards presented by the Ensemble. She appeared in such productions as “Sassy Mamas,” “Fences,” “What I Learned in Paris, “The Old Settler” and “Knock Me a Kiss.”
She was a member of St. Luke the Evangelist Episcopal Church and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.