One of the worst things about getting old is that relatives, friends and former business associates pass away. None of us are eternal.
I deeply regret –and apologize for - not posting an “in memoriam” article about Bill Ballard right after Bill Ballard passed away back in the late spring of this year. Unfortunately, when you are retired from the reprographics industry, which is my situation, you become disconnected from people in the industry.
I attended the Eastern (Regional) Reprographics Association in Hilton Head Island this past weekend, and that’s when I learned – from one of the reprographers attending the convention - that Bill Ballard had passed away. It was very, very sad news and it brought tears to my eyes.
I knew Bill Ballard for many, many years. I can’t even recall the first time I met Bill, it was so long ago. I’m positive that it was back when he was with Bruning. Bill exemplified the term, “concerned, committed vendor.” He was an outstanding guy, always willing to go the extra mile for you/your company. I don’t ever remember seeing Bill without a smile on his face. I don’t think that there’s a reprographer in the Southeastern part of the U.S. who did not know – and have a deep respect and a high regard – for Bill Ballard. He was a “class act.” And that’s an understatement, for sure.
During my second career in the reprographics business – our second company was based in Tampa and had other locations in Florida and in Atlanta – I had quite a bit of contact with Bill, inasmuch as he led OCE’s wide-format division sales managers and sales teams in the Southeastern U.S. I feel very privileged to have known Bill and to have had the opportunity to work with him. Supportive vendors are an essential part of growing a successful reprographics company. Bill played a supportive role in the growth of our company, NGI. Bill, thank you for that, and may you R.I.P.
My belated condolences to the family of William (Bill) Ballard.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on March 26, 2011
William Richard Ballard - 69, resident of Tucker Georgia, died from complications of cancer Wednesday night March 23, 2011. He was born July 7, 1941 in Atlanta, GA and was the second of four children of Dolly J. Ballard and A. Brooke Ballard. Bill graduated from Fulton High School and attended Georgia Tech while working for Southern Bell. He served in United States Coast Guard reserves and trained with the United States Navy Special Forces. His experience in the service helped focus his drive and impacted his life as he often remembered what one of his Drill Sergeant's told him ..."if you want to be special you have to do special things." Bill's life exemplified this as he was driven to be special in everything he did. Bill was a member of Briarlake Baptist Church where he led the singing for the Business Men's Bible Class. He felt very close to the members of his class and loved fellowship with them. Bill was also an avid golfer and always challenged himself. He was a member at Berkeley Hills Country Club and played in many tournaments around the state including the Georgia Amateur ... it is often said that the game of golf reveals a person's character Ö Bill was a man of character and integrity and everyone who spent time with him saw it and felt it ... you also knew that he genuinely wanted the best for you and from you. The experience in the service, his faith in God and the game of golf served as the foundation for his life and helped him achieve special things. He was a person that you could believe in and count on ... you knew that you could trust what he said and knew that he would follow through. Bill served in his best role as Granddaddy and loved to spend time with all his grandchildren fishing and going to the beach. Bill started his professional career as a Sales Rep with the Charles Bruning Company in Atlanta and earned top honors year after year. Over the years the company was purchased by A. M. International and then finally Océ North America. Océ tried to hire him many times and it was said that they actually bought AM International to finally get him to work for them. Bill was the Atlanta Branch Manager and then the Executive Director of the Southern Region for Océ. Through his career he and his team continued to perform as he expected special things from everyone ... Bill and his team rose to the challenge and was the top region in the company for many years. After more than 46 years of service Bill finished his career with Océ in 2009. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Betty Armistead Ballard and his two sons, William R. Ballard, II of Duluth, GA, and Brockwell Jackson Ballard of Satellite Beach, Florida, two loving daughters-in-law: Barbara Schaaf Ballard and Amy Parker Ballard, one grandson: Thomas Jackson Ballard and five granddaughters: Lucy Madison Ballard, Sarah Elizabeth Ballard, Audrey Grace Ballard, Natalie Claire Ballard and Emma Catherine Ballard, his mother, Dolly Jackson Ballard, Sister Jeannie Ballard Wright, Brother Mark Otis Ballard and many nieces and nephews. His father Arthur Brooke Ballard, Sr. and brother Arthur Brooke Ballard, Jr. predeceased him. Visitation will be at Patterson's Oglethorpe, 4550 Peachtree Road N. E. Atlanta, GA. 30319, Sunday Evening, March, 27, 2011 from 5:30 P M until 8:30 P M. The Funeral will be at Briarlake Baptist Church at 11:00 A M with visitation before the service from 10:00 until 11:00 A. M. 3715 La Vista Road, Decatur, GA 30033. Interment: Melwood Cemetery, 5170 East Ponce de Leon Avenue, Stone Mountain GA. In lieu of flowers please make donations to American Cancer Society in his honor. Phone: 1.800.227.2345 Mail: P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123, email www.cancer.org