Herb Ward, born Herbert Eugene McCracken in Philadelphia, died Dec. 24 of complications of surgery at Chestnut Hill Hospital. He was 75 and lived in Mount Airy.
After his recording career, Herb became a tractor-trailer driver for the Philadelphia Streets Department. He retired in 1999.
His wife, Elizabeth, told the Inquirer that Herb was pleased to learn that his music was still being played in England.
"They tried to get him to come over and tour Europe," she said. "He was very proud of that."
"He has some very collectible outings in the soul idiom," said Robert Bosco, writer and music historian. " 'Strange Change' is one famous outing for Argo [a division of Chicago-based Chess Records], which is worth a bundle, and I don't have.
"He had other notable releases - for Buddy [owned by local recording executive Frank Virtue] called 'Hands Off She's Mine,' 'You Can't Cry' for Phil L.A. of Soul, and for RCA, 'Honest To Goodness.'
"Truth to tell, he had only a modicum of success back in time, which is why his stuff is so revered and collectible into the Third Millennium."
David L. Brown, of Funkadelphia Records, said that once in the '60s when Herb was due to perform at the Uptown Theater, his band didn't show up.
"He asked Teddy Pendergrass to fill in as the drummer," Brown said. "It was Teddy's first performance ever."
(The late Teddy Pendergass went on to become a popular R&B/soul singer until he was paralyzed in an auto accident in Philadelphia in 1982.)
Herb Ward scored a success in 1967 with "Wrong Place at the Wrong Time," written by Philly soul impresarios Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.
Herb's manager, WHAT-AM disc jockey Sonny Hopson, released Herb's final recording, "Going Home," on Hopson's All Brothers label in 1969.
Herb was born in Philadelphia to Eugene and Anna L. Reeder McCracken. He attended Germantown High School. He served in the Marine Corps from 1954 to 1962.
Besides his wife, he is survived by two sons, Michael and Jeffrey, and two daughters, Charlene and Ellesia Black.
Services: Requiem Mass at 11 a.m. Friday at African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, 6361 Lancaster Ave.