Richard Earl Ballard, Sr.

Sunrise: December 21, 1932

Sunset: February 14, 2021

Richard Earl Ballard, Sr. went to rest on Sunday, February 14th, 2021 at the age of 88.

Richard was born to Evelyn Marie Stancil Baskerville and William Richard Ballard on Wednesday, December 21st, 1932. He was raised by his father and his step-mother Rosa Lee Ballard. His grandparents David and Mattie White lived close by and always took the time to inspire him. He enjoyed growing up in Portsmouth with his nieces, nephews and close friends who were like brothers to him. He was educated in the Public Schools systems of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia.

In 1945 at the age of thirteen, he accepted Christ as his Savior and was baptized at the Nobel Street Baptist Church in Portsmouth, Virginia under the leadership of the late Reverend E.W. Davidson. As an adult, he and his small family moved to Cavalier Manor and he became a member of the New Bethel Baptist Church in Portsmouth, Virginia.

In 1950 he graduated from Norfolk County High School where he participated in musical activities. After which he returned to this school and assisted with the band for one year.

In the fall of 1951, he attended Virginia State College in Norfolk, Virginia on a scholarship majoring in Music along with his old trombone that is still in the family’s possession today. He was a member of the band, the choir, and the Reserve Officer’s Training Corp. During this year, he met and started dating his future wife, Ruby Forbes Ballard of Norfolk, Virginia.

In 1953, he continued his Music Major studies at Virginia State College

where he was a performing member of the Jazz Band, the Marching Band, and the Concert Band.

In 1954 he joined the Nu Psi Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

In 1955, he married Ruby Forbes. He also graduated from Virginia State College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music and a R.O.T.C. Commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United State Army Infantry. He was assigned to Fort Dix in New Jersey and served as Platoon Leader of Company F, 4th Training Regiment, 4th platoon. He severed as Platoon Leader, Regimental Utilities Officer, Company Payroll Officer, Executive Officer, All Army Choral Director, and Talent Coordinator. His Commanding Officer stated, “Through sound judgement, exemplary leadership and professional competence, Richard carried out each task and obtained superior results”. During his service in the United States Army, he ascended to the rank of Captain.

In 1958 he was honorably discharged after securing early release orders by means of a professional career position. Following his discharge, he returned to Virginia, and began his teaching career in Halifax. Later he was an Instrumental Music Instructor in the Isle of Wight, and in Chesapeake.

In 1963, Richard received a Master of Arts Degree from Hampton University in Administration and Supervision.

In 1968 his career provided a new opportunity. He and his family moved to District Heights, Maryland where they became members of the Seat Pleasant/Gethsemane United Methodist Church. He continued his career in Music Education in Washington, D.C.

In 1991 Richard retried as an Instrumental Music Instructor. He and Ruby moved back to Tidewater, Virginia. Richard and Ruby’s children were grown and continued living in the greater metropolitan Washington, D.C area. They became members of the First Lutheran Church in Portsmouth Virginia where his friends were already members.

A born educator, he took every opportunity to share information. His approach to educating always resulted in a loving relationship. He was an educator for thirty-three years, never losing his burning desire to learn, improve and educate. He was a member of several organizations where he shared these skills, and he was greatly appreciated and rewarded.

As a member of several inspiring churches Richard learned how to lead in many ways. He served as Secretary, Treasurer, Lay Leader, Minister of Music, Director of the Mass Choir and the Chancel Choir, President of the Building Committee, Co-Founder of the “Gethsemane Men”, “The Octaves” vocal group, President of the Church Council, and an actor. There were always those who appreciated his helpful and kind leadership.

Having a great appreciation for knowledge, he continued his quest for information by acquiring credentials in Hotel/Motel Administration, Boating Skills, Seamanship, and Insurance.

The family benefited greatly from Richard’s inquisitive mind and he glowed in our love and esteem. He faced each situation in life with compassion, love, and determination, and his heart was full of joy.

Richard loved music and he played Symphonic music to wake the family up each morning. He was with Donald Byrd’s group until Donald moved his group to the west coast. Richard did not want to uproot his immediate family and move them so far away from rest of the family to live a performer’s life. He also played with other groups in the local area.

He took his sons, their friends, and others to football practice, the D.C. Youth Orchestra where he was one of the conductors. He also took them to exciting activities on the D.C. Mall. He enjoyed looking out for us and seeing us happy.

He was a loving, gracious, exceptional man. With the grace of God Richard held his family in high regard as he exhibited respect for each person and sought a life of variance through the church, music, education, reading, singing, boating, traveling, sports and in other ways.

He is survived by his devoted wife, of sixty-five years, Ruby Forbes Ballard, his three sons: Richard Earl Ballard, Jr., Randolph Forbes Ballard, Sr., Rodney Clifton Ballard; two grandchildren: Randolph Forbes Ballard, Jr and Alexandra Valentine Ballard; the son’s current and former spouses: Linda Burton, Clevetta Ballard, and Claudia Ballard-Walter; the grandchildren’s spouses: Jessica Ballard, Erica Ballard; many nieces, cousins, other relatives, friends, and neighbors.


Viewing Monday, March 1, 2021 2:00pm - 6:00pm Metropolitan Funeral Service 5605 Portsmouth Boulevard Portsmouth, VA 23701 Service WATCH SERVICE LIVE ONLINE Tuesday, March 2, 2021 11:00am Metropolitan Funeral Service Portsmouth Chapel Interment Albert G. Horton Veteran Cemetery 5310 Milners Rd Suffolk, VA 23434 The family is following the CDC and State of Virginia guidelines for funeral attendance

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  1. reply
    Jacqueline Bradley says

    Sorry to hear of the passing of my cousin Earl. Much love to Ruby and her sons at this most difficult time.

  2. reply
    Alveta Green says

    Dear Ruby and Family,
    Deepest Sympathy on the passing of Richard. May God comfort you during this time of sorrow. As your childhood neighbor & our days at VSU, I will keep you in my prayers.

    • reply
      Cynthia Gardere says

      Dear Ruby and family,

      We are so sorry to hear of Earl’s death. You and your family have our deep and sincere sympathy.

      Cynthia Williams Gardere and Mary Lee Williams

  3. reply
    Jessica Evans says

    Mrs. Ballard and family I am saddened for the loss of Mr. Ballard. He was a giant among many. My prayers are with you.

  4. reply
    Patrick & Marlo Forbes says

    My deepest sympathy for my Aunt Ruby & Cousins Ricky, Randy, Rodney & family. Uncle Earl was a great man & even better person. He’ll be missed immensely. ❤

  5. reply
    Tanya Jones says

    Cousin Ruby & Family,

    We are sorry for the loss of cousin Earl. We send our deepest condolences and prayers. May God comfort and keep you all.

    With Love,
    Barbara Perry, Allen Perry, Tanya P. Jones & family

  6. reply
    Novona Byrdsong says

    To Ruby and the Ballard Cousins,

    Deepest sympathy! We pray God’s peace will keep you comforted in this challenging time.

    Marie, Cedric, Novona and Brianna Byrdsong

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