Ballard, Dale Arbor (July 25, 1912 - December 30, 1998)

Dale Arbor Ballard

Douglas Budget - December 30, 1998

Funeral services for Dale Arbor Ballard, 86, were Dec. 29 at Converse Funeral Chapel of Douglas with Pastor Tom Strock of First Baptist Church of Lusk officiating.

Interment was in Douglas Park Cemetery in the International Order of Odd Fellows section.

Mr. Ballard died Dec. 25 at Memorial Hospital of Converse County following a brief illness.

He was born July 25, 1912, in Dresden, Kans., to Arthur E. and Ethel (McMillan)Ballard. In 1917 the family traveled to Wyoming and homesteaded 30 miles north of Douglas. He attended Douglas schools, playing football, saxophone and working for various ranchers in the area, as well as for Leonard Shaw.

Serving in the National Guard Calvary Division, Mr. Ballard gave trick riding exhibitions and was a member of the drill team which performed at the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas. In 1933, he married Wilma E. Nunn and moved to Orpha where he worked on the railroad.

In 1946 he and Wilma purchased the Rustic Inn in Esterbrook and began working for the Forest Service. During the harsh winters, Mr. Ballard worked throughout the state on road construction for Basin & Simms, Sherwin Construction and Melvin Ballard. While working for the Forest Service and living in the Esterbrook area, Mr. Ballard built most of the known roads in the area. In November 1953, he and Hank Raymond climbed Laramie Peak in belly-deep snow to install the area's first television antenna.

Having the only telephone, television and post office in the area, Dale and Wilma's Rustic Inn served as Esterbrook's message center, repair shop, towing service, grocery store, tavern and pool hall.

In 1958, the family moved to Douglas to allow their oldest son to attend high school. Mr. Ballard worked for Loy Banks at the Enco bulk Dealership. In 1963, Dale and Wilma purchased the Enco Filling Station, now Steve's Restaurant, which they ran until Mr. Ballard retired in 1975. After retiring, he contracted to carry the mail to Esterbrook and Orin.

In addition to life in general, Mr. Ballard especially enjoyed music. In the early years, he played for dances in the Douglas area with his father and brother. After moving to Esterbrook, he played for the dances at Hubbard's Cupboard at the White School. Late in life, he enjoyed playing with various senior citizens bands in Douglas, Glenrock, Casper, Wheatland and Lusk and was instrumental in establishing the Wednesday night jam sessions at the Douglas Senior Center and Monday afternoon playing at Michael Manor.

Active throughout his life, Mr. Ballard was an avid hunter, snowmobiler, motorcyclist and equestrian. He particularly liked people and served as a Converse County commissioner, member of the Wyoming State Fire Board and Converse County Rural Fire Board Believing the golden years should be the best. Mr. Ballard devoted 35 years to helping senior citizens. He assisted in obtaining funding for Irwin Towers, senior health care, buses and the new senior center.

He served as chairman of the Wyoming Senior Citizens Board and was active on that board for 20 years. he was president of Eastern Area Senior Citizens Board and was appointed to the Governor's Commission of Aging by Gov. Ed Herschler. He has attended the opening of every senior center in Wyoming and was active with the Douglas Seniors, AARP, Good Sam Club and the Douglas International Order of Odd Fellows.

He is survived by his wife, Wilma of Douglas; son Dale Russell Ballard of Custer, S.D., daughter Marilyn Sue Ballard-Cook of Douglas, granddaughters Donna Dalene Crowe of Oklahoma City and Diane Dee Ballard of Albuquerque; and brother Forest O. Ballard of Yuma, Ariz.

He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Mary Ann Ballard and brother Kenneth Ballard.

Serving as pallbearers were Jim Fitzhugh, Dana Fitzhugh, Bill Fitzhugh, Kelly Anderson, Bill Nunn and Gary Nunn. Honorary pallbearers were all his friends and relatives.

A memorial too the Douglas Senior Citizens Center, P.O. Box 192,, Douglas, or a charity of the donor's choice would be appreciated by the family.

Converse Funeral Chapel was in charge of the arrangements.

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