Kenny Ballard Class of '72

Profile Updated: April 20, 2010
Residing In: King, NC USA
Occupation: (If retired, tell us what you used to do) New Product Development Engineer
We'd love to know how many children you have (and their names) Brannon Ballard, born 1975
Wesley Ballard, born 1990
Jessica Ballard, born 1992
Yes! Attending Reunion

It seems like a lifetime ago when we were all at East Forsyth High. Before morning classes we sat around on the heat registers with our friends and talked.

My best friend (Jeff Gautier) and I use to talk about traveling the world one day together. Sadly Jeff died in a tragic accident a couple years after we graduated. I was devastated. God knows how much I miss him. I still dream about him to this very day.

We never traveled together as we planned, but I moved around a lot ...

I've lived in Naperville (Chicago suburb) Illinois for 6 years, I lived in Rochester Hills, Michigan for 9 years. I also lived in Spartanburg, SC, and Lancaster, PA.

I graduated from the University of Michigan, Dearborn with a BSME. I met my third wife in Michigan. (yes I said third)

I have a son by my first wife and a son and a daughter by my third wife. I didn't have any children by my second wife.

My second wife and I were fell in love from the first day we met. Although we were married for only 4 short years, I look back on those days and smile. She was so beautiful and a real lady. (I will always love her) At the time, I didn't know what I had ... and I was lucky to have found her at that time in my life. I owe a lot to her. I never got to thank her.

I married my third wife in 1986. She was Polish Catholic and we were married in North Carolina. We lived in Michigan at the time. We later moved to Chicago where my second son and daughter were born.

While living in Chicago I worked for a company that sent me all over the world. You name it ... and I have been there. Sometimes for weeks on end. Although I loved Europe... that got old "real quick".

I moved back to North Carolina in 1997. I obtained a small business loan from the city of Winston-Salem and I started my own Engineering, Design and Tool Manufacturing facility. It was great for a few years. At one time we had 12 employees working 24 hours a day and shipping tooling all over the world. Then, after September 11, 2001, the bottom fell out of the economy.

The year that followed was miserable. I poured everything I had into the business to keep it going. But the business climate was not favorable. I soon lost everything. I shut down the business penniless.

Personally, I started my life all over again.

This experience taught me a lot. I quickly realized where my priorities should be.

I wanted to slow things down a bit and reorganize. I now live in King, NC in a simple rural home.

In the evenings I sit on my front porch in one of my rocking chairs... and reminisce...

If I had to do it all over again... would I change some things ... you bet!!

I guess we all would.

...Now I know what my grandfather was thinking when I saw him sitting on his porch... when I was young... and knew everything...


What other towns/states have you lived in?

I've lived in Naperville (Chicago suburb) Illinois for 6 years, I lived in Rochester Hills, Michigan for 9 years. I also lived in Spartanburg, SC, and Lancaster, PA.

Met anyone famous/infamous or nationally known for whatever reason?

I met Chuck Norris at the "Battle of Atlanta" in 1973. (Annual Southeast Karate Tournament) he was a real gentleman. I got a photo of him and I together. It was the first time I had used a 35mm camera and I exposed the film when I loaded in a new roll. I went back up to him later that evening and told him what happened. He had a big grin and he said... "Well let's make this photo even better" so he put his arm on my shoulder and waited patiently for my friend Jeff to take the photo. He shook my hand and (with a big smile) he said "Be careful this time.. ok??" What a gentleman!!

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