Former Akron Mayor John Ballard has passed away. Ballard served as the city's top government leader from 1966 to 1980.
Mayor Plusquellic praised Ballard for his honesty and commitment to Akron during what were "tumultuous times," including massive local job losses in the rubber industry.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports Ballard died Saturday night after a battle with Alzheimer's Disease. He was 89.
Ballard was a former F.B.I agent who also served as Akron and Summit County Prosecutor before running for Mayor in 1965. Calling hours will be held Saturday from 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. at Billow's Fairlawn Chapel.
"He was really just focused on what were the issues, what were the problems, what are we going to do to pull people together. He really enjoyed tackling problems and pulling people together," said John H. Ballard, one of five children who called the late Mayor "Dad."
"During the week it was all work and not a lot of play, but weekends he definitely carved out big blocks of time for the kids. We were always hiking, or bowling, or doing something as a family," Ballard said, remembering how his father juggled the pressures and responsibility of leading the City with his responsibilities as a father.
Ironically, Ballard says his father really didn't seek the path of being Mayor and would have preferred continuing his legal career. "He claimed he got talked into it," Ballard told AkronNewsNow.com, on the decision to run for Mayor rather than continue in the Prosecutor's office.
(News release - Mayor Plusquellic) The people of Akron lost a great friend and public servant with the passing of Mayor John Ballard (image, at left, shows from l-r former Mayor Roy Ray; Mayor Don Plusquellic; former Mayor Tom Sawyer and former Mayor John Ballard. credit: City of Akron) I extend my condolences to his wife Pat, to his children, and to his extended family.
John was Mayor when I came to city council 39 years ago. I know as well as anyone what it takes to be the long-serving mayor of a city and the problems that come with the job.
He presided over our local government at a time of tumultuous social unrest in society, and a dramatic shift of jobs in the manufacturing industries in the Midwest. Both of these movements created their own set of problems for Akron and Mayor Ballard.
I have great respect for John, for his commitment to the City during these difficult times, and have always respected him for his honesty.
In recent years, when I needed to go to the people to ask for their vote on important issues, John Ballard joined me and previous mayors Roy Ray and Tom Sawyer in endorsing ballot issues that were good for Akron. I appreciated his support because he and the other mayors offered their credibility, and continued their service to the people of Akron.