The Shakers were a man short for the last hour after veteran former Northern Ireland goalie Alan Fettis was sent off in the first half.
Referee Iain Williamson, who made several controversial decisions throughout the match, ruled that Fettis had pulled back a Torquay striker in the 30th minute, even though fellow defender Chris Brass was back to clear the ball off the line.
Former Aston Villa starlet Ward, who recently asked for a transfer, made no mistake from the penalty spot. It was no more than Torquay deserved, for they dominated the first half with the wind at their backs.
Left winger Ryan Dickson, making his debut on loan from neighbours Plymouth Argyle, was a constant threat and one alert free-kick set up Ward for a fierce shot which Aaron Grundy, who took over from Fettis in goal, tipped over his bar in the 37th minute.
Bury looked to have no chance after Mr. Williamson ruled that Paul Scott had pushed Ward as he stretched to head a Matt Hockley cross, in the 49th minute.
Again Ward made no mistake with the penalty, his ninth goal of the season.
But with the wind now behind them and the lively Ward limping off with hamstring trouble in the 66th minute, Bury refused to give in.
They eventually grabbed a lifeline in the 79th minute when Marc Pugh punished a mistake by Kevin Hill and scored with a 15-yard right-foot volley.
With nothing to lose, Bury pounded away for the last ten minutes and finally Mr Williamson made his third key decision, ruling that Torquay skipper Steve Woods had pushed an opponent in a packed goalmouth as the home side tried to clear a long throw by Dave Challinor.
Lee Thorpe became the sixth player to be booked for his protests, but Andy Bishop did the business from the spot, slamming home the penalty for Bury's equaliser.