Ballard 'retires' after decade of volunteer service


Marion and Shirley Ballard with Volunteer Room staff, from left, Teresa Coleman, Emily Herrell, John Itschner and Taylor Perry.

Marion and Shirley Ballard with Volunteer Room staff, from left, Teresa Coleman, Emily Herrell, John Itschner and Taylor Perry.

It is the end of an era at The Food Bank.

Marion Ballard, who has volunteered five days a week since 2006, has retired.

Employees, fellow volunteers, family and friends gathered to celebrate his contributions to The Food Bank on May 19, giving him and his wife, Shirley, a standing ovation for their volunteer efforts.

"The Food Bank family loves you and will miss you terribly," Executive Director Lindsay Young Lopez said during her remarks.

Ballard was born in Bagnell, Mo., in 1924. He was drafted into the Army in 1943 and served until 1946. The following year, he earned a degree in agriculture from the University of Missouri and began teaching in Osceola, where he met Shirley.

The couple moved to Columbia in 1954, where they raised three daughters and a son, all of whom graduated from Hickman High School.

Ballard retired from a position at MU in 1987.

In the volunteer room, Ballard has logged more than 10,000 hours and has helped assemble 128,000 senior boxes--an investment of time and labor that surpasses any other individual or group.

In addition to repacking food, Ballard also helped the volunteer staff fix equipment when needed, and he loaned The Food Bank his truck to pick up pears and apples from area orchards.

Ballard has also made an impact on fellow volunteers. 
During his retirement reception, several praised him for showing them the ropes and for making volunteering a positive experience.

Last year, an anonymous donor made a $10,000 contribution in the Ballards' honor, creating the Marion and Shirley Ballard Buddy Pack Fund.

"Marion has made a lasting impact," Lopez said. "The Food Bank is a better operation because of his contributions."