Verdugo Views: Photographer returns to postwar Glendale

September 21, 2012|By Katherine Yamada
  • Photographer Glenn B. Ward often took his family along on his photo expeditions. In this 1957 photo, his wife Betty looks out the front window of their vehicle as his daughter, Barbara Jo, leans out the driver's side.
Photographer Glenn B. Ward often took his family along… (Courtesy of Sharon…)

Glenn B. Ward spent his entire career as a professional photographer working out of a small studio in his adopted city of Glendale.

Ward was born and raised in Fresno and earned a business degree before coming to work at Lockheed in the early 1940s. A mutual friend from Glendale Presbyterian Church introduced him to a young woman named Betty Hendricks. When he joined the Air Force in 1942 and was sent off to Europe, they began writing letters to one other.

During his tour of duty, he flew C-47 transports in and out of battle, carrying wounded soldiers, supplies and officers in France and England.

He had always had an interest in photography. While he was overseas he acquired a couple of high-quality cameras and began developing that interest into a serious hobby.

Glenn and Betty were wed during his leave in 1944. She had been married previously and had a young daughter, Sharon, who recalls Ward very fondly. “He was the only Dad I ever knew,” she said.


After the war, as the men prepared to return to civilian life, their commanding officers told them there wouldn’t be a lot of jobs available and that they would have to invent their own careers. They warned the men not to try to turn their hobbies into careers.

But that’s just what Ward did. He shipped his cameras home and in 1946 set up shop as a commercial photographer on east Colorado Street near Verdugo Road, daughter Sharon Ward Thompson said.

Ward photographed products for catalogs and brochures. His clientele came from the many small businesses that were based in Glendale after the war.

One job was photographing film-making and sound-mixing equipment for Voice of America. Other clients included Bob’s Big Boy, McCann’s Engineering and First Fidelity Bank.

Daughters Peggy, Barbara Jo and Glenda soon became younger sisters to Sharon. At first the family lived in Eagle Rock, then in 1955, they moved to Glendale.

Ward sometimes asked his family to model for shots. Thompson recalled the time her mother, who had beautiful hands, held a box of strawberries while he took pictures. “The strawberries were gorgeous,” she said. “We ate them when the shoot was done.”

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