Casey Ballard, Sr.
May 29, 1963 – September 20, 2022
The family of Casey Ballard Sr. of Lawrence, Kansas, is heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle on Tuesday, September 20, 2022. Casey was vacationing with family in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, celebrating his wife’s retirement, when he died suddenly after suffering a heart attack. He was 59 years young. The family is grateful for the care and compassion Casey received at Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach, where his organs were donated to help others.
The only son of the late Dovie Ballard Jr. and Mary Lena Clayton Ballard, Casey was born on May 29, 1963, in Cleveland, Ohio. He grew up in Akron, OH, where he was baptized at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church and loved fishing with his father. He played basketball under legendary coach Joe Siegferth at Central Hower High School (CHHS), where he graduated in 1981 with a 4.0 GPA.
Casey joined the United States Air Force in 1984. During Technical Training at Keesler Air Force Base, he was accepted into the Base Honor Guard, the best of the best on base. That’s also where he met the love of his life, Denise Ward (Philadelphia, PA), who was also in the USAF. They married in 1985. Casey served active duty at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, VA, where their sons, Casey Jr. and Christian, were born. After being honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant, Casey worked in the private sector in Atlanta, GA, and later in Lawrence, KS, before becoming a civil servant with the U.S. Coast Guard. He was Chief of the Planning and Process Improvement Branch, U.S. Coast Guard Pay and Personnel Center, in Topeka, KS. Working in Topeka meant he wouldn’t have to travel so much for work and could be “hands-on” in raising his sons. From coaching them in little league basketball and football to traveling with Denise to see Christian play for the Iowa Hawkeyes and Minnesota Vikings, his sons were his pride and joy.
Casey was a great cook, trying his hand at everything from New Orleans-style gumbo to gourmet chocolate chip cookies. He was also a huge soccer fan, especially the premier league, and his favorite team was Liverpool FC. Casey was also a voracious reader who was looking forward to retiring next year and writing a novel about the colorful characters he met as a teenager racking balls at Ballard’s Recreation, his dad’s billiards place in Akron. His life had taken him a long way from there, but he never forgot the old-timers’ stories and words of wisdom.
Left to cherish Casey’s memory forever are his wife of 37 years, Denise Ballard; son Casey Ballard Jr. of Lawrence, KS, his wife Christina and their son Micah; son Christian Ballard of Palm Springs, California, his son Reece and daughter Vera; sisters Marva Ballard-Smoot, Lynn Ballard, and Stephanie (Arthur) Mitchell, all of Montgomery, AL; cherished aunt, Rosalee Cunningham Short of Cleveland, OH; beloved cousins, Roderick (Semecca) Kimbrough of Holland, OH, and Jennifer Short of Cleveland, OH; nieces and nephews; longtime friend and CHHS classmate Rev. Stacey Jenkins; and numerous other relatives, friends, and colleagues.
Visitation is Friday, September 30, 2022, 5-7 p.m., at Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS. A memorial service will be held at the same location on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at 10 a.m.