Gary Keith Ballard, 77, passed away at 9:42 a.m. Wednesday (Feb. 6, 2019) at his home in Wood River, surrounded by family.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at LoveJoy United Presbyterian Church, 2550 Rock Hill Road, Wood River. His funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at LoveJoy United Presbyterian Church, Wood River, with Pastor Daniel Ervin officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to BJC Hospice at Alton or LoveJoy United Presbyterian Church. Arrangements have been made through Marks Mortuary, Wood River.
Gary was born July 10, 1941, in Alton, the son of Charles Keith Ballard and Mary Elizabeth Ballard. He married the love of his life Judith Helen Carlton on Aug. 17, 1963. She survives.
Also surviving are his two sons, Gregory Ballard, Stephenville, Texas; and Ryan (Stacey) Ballard, Alton; and a daughter, Shelly (Jon) Devore, Lexington; five grandchildren, Ashleigh (Ben) Hallgarth, Nicholas Ballard, Andrew Ballard, Jacob Devore and Brianna Devore; and two sisters, Debra Goskie and Brenda (Dan) Donohoo.
He was preceded in death by his father; mother; a sister, Marilyn Zupan; and a son, Rodney Ballard.
Gary attended Wood River public schools, and Southern Illinois University of Alton, graduating in 1963. He was active in the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity. He taught math at Roxana Junior High from 1963-1975, coaching baseball, basketball and football. He became associate pastor at Hartford Baptist Church, Hartford, from 1973-1975. In 1975, he became pastor at Hudson Baptist Church, Hudson. He was pastor of Agape Fellowship, Lake Bloomington, from 1977-1990, and taught math at El Paso High School for several years until 1990.
Gary appreciated the opportunity to serve with disaster relief organizations from 2005-2016. He enjoyed coaching golf at Southwestern High School while his grandsons played from 2012-2017. He trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior in 1970, and it changed his life and his eternal destiny. Gary always shared God's Daily Walking Plan, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”