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Gordon J. Ballard

November 22, 1927 - January 16, 2017

Gordon Ballard, a longtime resident of Salem Oregon, passed away on Monday January 16, 2017 at Legacy Hopewell House Hospice. Family was present when he crossed over his rainbow bridge to join his wife, Ruth Ballard, predeceased on January 12, 2016. Much Grace Upon Their Lives.

Gordon was raised and schooled in Rutland Vermont. After his military service, he attended the University of Vermont, receiving an engineering degree in 1951. He was immediately hired by Oregon Department of Transportation and retired after 33 years of state service.

Gordon met and married his wife soon after arriving in Oregon and he was a devoted husband to Ruth, until her death in 2016. Gordon was proud of his daughter and son-in-law Virgil and Catherine Shamblin of Dallas Oregon, and grandson Logan Shamblin of Salem. He is also survived by his sister and brother-in-law - Carol and Tom Whittaker of Brandon Vermont, his gracious sisters-in-law and spouse - Phyllis Haas, Shirley and Rex Kelly, and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents – Raymond and Claire Ballard, and his brother Tom Ballard. 

He had lead an active life - skiing as a young man, camping at the Metolius River, bird hunting each fall and always golfing – six days a week rain or shine. He wintered in Surprise Arizona after retirement and sang in choir groups when he wasn’t golfing. He had worshipped at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church for over 55 years and sang in the church choir. He loved to recite the Peace Prayer of St Francis over the family’s meals.

Dad’s OHSU hospital room looked east towards Mt Hood and the Willamette River. Dad had skied on Hood over 60 years ago, with wooden skis and cable bindings. Dad was part of the ODOT design team when the Marquim Bridge was made in 1964. His view of that bridge, in that evening twilight, was of a long line of lights over the Willamette. The hospital windows looked out over Dad’s history, his past; he’d had an adventurous journey from Vermont’s Green Mountains to the slopes and drainages of Oregon’s Cascade Range.

A memorial service will be held at Willamette National Cemetery, 11800 Mt. Scott Blvd., Portland Oregon, on Friday April 28, 2017, at 11 AM. An open house for family and friends will be held locally after the memorial service. Please contact Cathy Shamblin at 503-680-3503 for location and time.

A special thanks to the staff of Windsong at Eola Hills home, OHSU Cardiac ICU and Hopewell House Hospice for their attentive care and kind support during Dad’s illness. Listening with an Open Heart is truly Priceless.

A memorial gift may be made to Oregon Health and Sciences University in memory of both Gordon and Ruth Ballard in support of Alzheimer's research. Contact the OHSU Foundation at 503-552-0743 or email either  /


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May the road rise to meet you.May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and, until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.      A Gaelic Blessing. From Tom Ballard son Gordon's nephew

Cousin Gordon you're a good man and will be missed. RIP

Catherine, Virgil and Logan - Please accept our prayers for your family from our family.  Your mom and dad were good friends to my parents, my brothers and to Brenda and myself.  Your family and you have gone the distance since your mom pass away.  
We admire the effort your family and you have put forth with your mom and dad.  They would, as always, be very proud of your efforts with them. 
Our thanks for keeping us informed during these very tough days.  Our thoughts and prayers are with your family and you.
Sincerely - Brenda and pat

Will miss you Gordon. Good memories of you and Ruth will live on.

For Dad from your loving Daughter - A poem that might explain why you came WEST.   
"And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightening of flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully-grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you'll park or capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open"
- Postscript by Seamus Heaney -

Len and I always looked forward to seeing Gordon and Ruth when they visited us on their way to Arizona. The best visit was when Pop was in town too. Of course, we played many hands of 45 and each had their version of the "West Rutland" rules. There were dramatic moments!
I didn't know many of my Burke cousins so 'Corky' as we used to call him, became a sort of bridge to my dads side of the clan. It didn't matter that we disagreed on politics, we felt a strong familial bond and I will miss him.

I worked two years in Gordon's architectural & mechanical group in the Bridge Section at Oregon State Highway Division.  It was my first job after graduating from OSU in 1973 and there are many fond memories of Gordon's humor and his guidance for a new engineer.  My condolences to his family, he was a good man.