Friday, July 10, 2009

John Ballard Passes

It was with surprise and disappointment that word came today of the passing of classmate John Earl Ballard. I understand John died on July 4 and his funeral was today. Any further details received will be shared.

John's Obituary

Ballard, John E., Sr. age 73, of Bloomington, passed away peacefully July 4, 2009. Beloved husband of Anne; loving father of John, Jr. (Laurie) and Virginia Ballard; granddaughters, Amanda and Chelsea. Owner of Ballard and Associates. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Normandale Hylands UMC or donor's choice. Celebration of Life Service Friday, July 10, 2 PM at Normandale Hylands UMC, 9920 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington. Visitation one hour prior to service at the church, and Thursday 5-8 PM also at the church. Washburn-McReavy Werness Brothers Chapel 952-884-8145

Published in Star Tribune on 7/7/2009

His wife, Anne, can be contacted at:

Mrs. Anne Ballard

5117 W. 105th St.

Bloomington, MN 55437


Note: We knew John's wife Anne at Central when she was Anne Alexander (class of 55)

Anne is sharing this letter that she wrote to Jerry.........

"... John found out he had Melanoma in March 2008, and the doctors said he could have had it since childhood. He fought it until it finally took him. He was born "optimistic" and he never changed. The family knew, as did John, that it couldn't be cured, but he never stopped "living".

We've had a boat, of some sort, on the Mississippi for the past 25 years and we had gone to the boat on July 2 to stay through the weekend and especially to see the fireworks set off in Red Wing MN from a spot right across the river from where our houseboat is docked.

The Melanoma had spread from a spot on his shoulder to spots in his lung and then in his brain. He had chemo (for the lung) and radiation (for the brain) to keep him going. Anyway, he had to go to the hospital in Red Wing Friday morning and I really thought I'd be taking him back to the boat in time for fireworks. On Saturday afternoon, he was taken by ambulance to Methodist Hospital, closer to home and closer to his own doctors, where he took a sudden downturn and was gone by 10 p.m. that night - just when the fireworks were going on close to the hospital!

Our daughter had been with us at the boat and our son met us at the hospital in the cities. He had a peaceful death and was lucid until just before he slipped away. Our pastor, another pastor friend of ours, our children, two nurses and an oncologist (who graduated from Duke) and I were surrounding him and repeating the 23rd Psalm as he left us.

As I said, we knew he was Stage 4, but we were still stunned at how fast he went. I suggested some time ago that we let the class of '54 know, but he just didn't want to be "sad news". He loved Central, his class and mine too (CHS'55), and cherished all the wonderful memories we had from that time.

The service - John's Celebration of Life - was a wonderfully uplifting one, as he wished. John had been in a church choir ever since before his voice changed - and we still were at this church. So - the choir sang and all kinds of music was represented. We had a string bass, drums and piano playing some jazz, dixieland, "our" songs and classical. During the service the choir sang a gospel version of "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" and just before the end of the service, they performed an upbeat gospel number "Swing Down Chariot", arranged by Davis/Robinson. Now our Methodist church is usually more conservative than that, but the service was as John wished it to be. He still liked a party to the end - with no "moping around"!

Our little family and I are doing okay so far - and I realize this is probably more than you wanted to know, but that's how it went. I have received Emails and calls from a few "old" friends from the class - and they are appreciated.

John enjoyed looking at the website and Ed has done such a great job. I will keep on keeping up with that too.

Anne (Alexander) Ballard"