Palo Alto, N.M., resident Jim Ballard suffered a serious bicycle accident near his home May 19, 2013, breaking his back in multiple places and fracturing many other bones in his upper body. He was medevaced to the University Medical Center Trauma Unit in El Paso, Texas. Although a 12-hour surgery successfully stabilized his spine, his heart began failing, and he passed away May 26, minutes after his son arrived at his side from Afghanistan.
Since moving to Palo Alto from Steamboat Springs in 2008, Jim, as well as his wife, Jean, had been active in the Palo Alto community. They are members of Community United Methodist Church, where Jim was past treasurer and member of the finance committee. He also was treasurer and past president of the Ruidoso Noon Lions Club and volunteered in numerous activities.
During his 10 years in Steamboat, Jim helped organize and chaired the community's first Habitat for Humanity chapter to address the critical need for low-cost housing. He also was active in the Ski Town Lions Club.
Prior to moving to Colorado, Jim built a successful financial planning and insurance business in Northern Virginia. He had earned a master’s degree in finance from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1971 after serving two years as a lieutenant junior grade in the U.S. Navy. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Notre Dame University in 1966, Jim worked on the DuPont team that developed Teflon II.
In Palo Alto, Jim took up golf and was shooting in the mid-80s and lower 90s this spring. He also skied at every chance, hiked with the Trail Snails and loved to ride horses.
He was an avid fan, as well, following virtually every Notre Dame sports team and the Washington Redskins, Nationals and Wizards.
Jim was born James Hilary Ballard Jr. He was the oldest of eight children and helped support the family by working odd jobs a minor could perform: mowing lawns, washing windows, picking strawberries, babysitting, delivering newspapers, and selling magazine and newspaper subscriptions. Once he reached 15, he worked construction every summer and on school holidays through college.
He is survived by his wife, Jean Atkins Ballard; son 1st Lt. Curtis Ballard, of Sacketts Harbor, N.Y.; daughter Paula Puckett (from his first marriage); grandchildren Erica, Hanna and Zach Puckett, of Fairfax, Va.; and siblings Michael Ballard, Mary Postma, Ruth Warren, Margaret Bebe Palin, Catherine Coggins, Teresa Fares and Rosemary Law.
A funeral was held at Central United Methodist Church. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Central United Methodist Church or the Wounded Warrior Project, at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.