Norman Ward, author of the 14th Leacock Medal winner Mice in the Beer, not only spent most of his career as a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, he spent most of his life at UofS. Ward died on February 4, 1990 at the age of 71. He had retired in 1985 after 40 years at the university. His funeral was held in the University Convocation Hall.
Ward was widely known as a humour writer during the 1960s and 1970s, writing articles as well as Mice and two follow-up humour books, The Fully Processed Cheese, published in 1964, and Her Majesty's Mice in 1977. But his greatest national recognitions, including election to the Royal Society of Canada, came for his work as a political science and economics researcher.
- In 1969 Ward was designated as the official biographer of James G. Gardiner, former premier of Saskatchewan.
- Ward’s Order of Canada (Awarded on December 18, 1974; Invested on April 7, 1976) cited his services as an economist and political scientist.
- Despite his expertise and work in social sciences, Ward was appointed by the Government of Canada in 1974 to serve on the governing council of the Canada Council, the country’s major arts funder.
- His political science writing was not always as highly regarded as his humour books. In a newspaper review, historian J.L. Granatstein called the Gardiner biography “as dry as the Prairie soil of the dust bowl years ... (adding that) ... Ward's renowned humor is nowhere in evidence, and the prose unfortunately sits on the page like so many cow flaps in a farmer's field.”
- In contrast, Globe and Mail columnist and earlier Leacock Medal winner Joan Walker said that she “Laughed till she cried” in a review of Mice in the Beer.
- Norman Ward, who was known as a voice of the prairies and solidly associated with Saskatchewan throughout his career, was, in fact, born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario where he attended McMaster University before earning his doctoral degree at the University of Toronto.
- The only institutions to recognize him with honorary degrees were the Ontario universities McMaster (1974) and Queens (1977).
- One of Norman Ward’s books (he was editor), the fourth edition of The Government of Canada (University of Toronto Press) was the first Canadian book to be translated and published into Punjabi.
- Ward and his wife, Betty, had six children.