Dec 04

My father, William “Bill” Ballering passed away this morning.

Bill came into my life when I was ten when he married my mom and adopted my sister and me. He and mom only lasted a few years, but Bill and I remained close to the end.

Although I was not his responsibility, Bill taught me the values of work ethic, doing the right thing, ignoring the noise, and focusing on what had to be done. I am what I am today because of him.

When I bought my first home, a sad little house that needed a gut rehab, Bill was there every weekend helping remodel it. That is where I learned skills that became the foundation of my career.

Bill had an extreme work ethic. He was in his early 80s when I called him one day. He said he had some kid mowing his yard in the middle of the conversation, and he was angry at himself because he should be doing it. Last winter, at 85 years old, he shoveled three-foot deep of frozen snow for forty feet because the plow guy could not make it.

Bill was stoic long before stoicism became popular again. He was healthy as an ox until late September when he had a stroke. I spoke to him the day after he was admitted to the hospital. He said the stroke was nothing, only to hear from the nurse that he had lost the use of his right arm and could not walk. I asked him again, and he said, ‘Nah, don’t worry, it is really minor’ While being treated, they found cancer. A week after being at a rehab facility, he was rushed to the hospital with COVID. His O2 level was 70%. Halloween morning he told me he was dying. It was the first negative thing I recall him saying in the 55 years I’ve known him, He recovered from the COVID, but cancer quickly metastasized.

Thirty years ago, Bill found his soulmate in Emmy. He loved her immensely. When Emmy was no longer safe at home due to Alzheimer’s, Bill went to see her at the nursing home every day, some days more than once. In the beginning, he would often take her for a drive or out for ice cream. Later, when she no longer recognized him, he still went to see her every day. When Emmy passed, Bill visited her grave daily.

The grandkids and great-grandkids loved him. He looked so much like Santa Claus.

The world was blessed to have had him. Don’t feel sorry for me, I was the lucky one to have had him in my life.

This is my favorite picture.

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