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Longtime newspaper carrier passes away

A long-time Daily Leader newspaper delivery contract carrier died Monday after several years of declining health.

Jimmy Dow Ballard, 63, died Monday at his home.

He and his wife, Lois, have worked as team delivering papers for many years. Jimmy was dedicated, and even after losing both legs to diabetes, he soon returned to his route with Lois driving and Jimmy throwing papers.

Ballard

Ballard

Bill Jacobs, former Daily Leader publisher, described the Ballards as a fixture to the carrier crew.

“When I look back on all my years at The Daily Leader, I really don’t remember one that did not have smiling face of Jimmy Ballard,” Jacobs said. “Always a smile on his face – even when the press was late or a storm brewing.”

Jacobs said Ballard was always willing to help out, whether it was giving an extra hand or a humorous prod when necessary. Jacobs recounts the morning after Hurricane Katrina. The staff was scrambling to get a generator running and a paper out.

“I will never forget looking up and seeing Jimmy and Lois walking into the dark newsroom,” Jacobs said. “They were worried about their customers and knew the importance of getting the paper to them. I think I hugged them both.”

The staff finally got the four-page paper out around 6 p.m., and the Ballards led the way to make sure their subscribers received their paper.

“That big smile and those bright eyes were an inspiration,” Jacob said. “The world needs more Jimmies.”

Lois said Jimmy was the best thing to ever happen to her.

“I don’t think I’ll find another one like him,” she said. “He was good to everybody.”

Otis Raybon, Daily Leader publisher, expressed his sympathy to the family.

“I feel like the readers of The Daily Leader that he and his wife delivered the daily newspapers to for more than 25 years will miss Mr. Ballard, and I’m sure they would want to express their appreciation to him.”

Ballard’s funeral will be Thursday at 11 a.m. at Riverwood Family Funeral Service, and visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday. A full obituary is included on page five of today’s edition.