John Lee Ballard
John Lee Ballard died peacefully at his home in Milford, California on Oct. 20, 2020, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was 47 years old.
John was born on Dec. 18, 1972 in Salinas, California to James (Jim) and Patricia Ballard. He would be the eldest of three sons. As a small child John and his family lived in Taylorsville, California, but the family soon moved to the Laufman Ranger Station in Milford, California where John’s father Jim worked as a Recreation Technician. It was there that John’s love of the outdoors and hunting flourished. John enjoyed hunting with his family and friends and loved to explore the local wilderness.
As a young man John learned the skill of tree falling during his many outings with his family to collect firewood for the family home. This skill would be one that John would perfect and continue to perform his whole adult life. John worked as a faller for many local logging outfits, but also had the chance to use his skills in Alaska, where he worked for a Heli logging company. It was a thrilling adventure for John that highlighted his skills. Even as John was battling cancer, whether he was doing it for a paycheck or for a friend or family member in need, he continued to fall trees for as long as he was physically able.
While being outdoors, John’s love of hunting grew to be an almost defining characteristic. Everyone that knew him and some that just knew of him, always had a hunting story to tell, some of them funny, some outrageous and some were just humbling. John was an avid houndsman and hunter, with bears being his specialty for a time. He loved having hounds and loved to hunt with them. He also loved to hunt for birds of all kinds. He would spend many hours in the woods and other local wilderness areas searching for wildlife to view and to hunt. John’s bird fascination prompted him to collect a large variety of birdcalls and an even larger collection of decoys. In recent years he shared a love of lanyard making for those birdcalls with his daughters and his oldest niece. He was always on the lookout for a new design.
His love of hunting and the outdoors was an aspect of his life that he was proud to share with his three children. John would take them with him during many of his outings and enjoyed teaching them the proper and safe way to hunt and handle weapons. He passed his love of hunting onto his two daughters and his son Conner with great pride. Conner was only 2 when he joined the Ballard family, but John’s love for him was always that of a father. Conner was soon joined by Jaycee, Johns’ eldest daughter and then by Jesslyn, the youngest of the three. Being a father brought out the soft side and the protector in John. He was a devoted family man who he doted on his children, especially his daughters as they held a special place in his heart. John always took time to let others know how proud he was of his children and what amazing people they were becoming. The love he had for his two daughters and his son will never be forgotten.
John will always be known as the hard working, fun loving, family man he was. He always had a smile for his friends and a helping hand for anyone that needed it. His sense of humor and his ability to invoke a laugh will never be forgotten by anyone that knew him. He will be missed by so many, but his generosity, lessons, stories and love will live on forever through his children, his family and the lives that he touched.
John was preceded in death by his father James Ballard in 2017. He is survived by his mother Patricia Ballard of Herlong, California, his brother Jim (Kim) Ballard of Mariposa, California, his brother Josh (Trish) Ballard of Janesville, California, his son Conner Hight of Spring Creek, Nevada, his daughter Jaycee Ballard of Milford, California, his daughter Jesslyn Ballard of Livingston, Tennessee, his fiancé Sherri Harper of Milford, California, three nieces, one nephew and the numerous friends that were always more like family to John than they were just friends.