Rash's Surname Index

Notes for Frederic Lyman Jr. BALLARD

Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) - Friday, March 16, 2001
Frederic L. Ballard Jr., 83, product of a prominent legal family, husband of outspoken feminist and civic leader Ernesta Ballard, and an influential presence in numerous institutions in Philadelphia and beyond, died Tuesday of pulmonary fibrosis at Cathedral Village in the Andorra section of the city.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Mr. Ballard spent his entire legal career at Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, the powerful law firm founded by his grandfather, Ellis Ames Ballard, in the 19th century.

Mr. Ballard grew up in Chestnut Hill, lived there much of his life, and, until age and illness robbed him of his strength, walked almost every day along Wissahickon Creek.

As an attorney and partner at Ballard Spahr, he worked mostly in corporate law.

As a relentlessly proud Philadelphian, he helped lead some of the city's most visible institutions, including Thomas Jefferson University, where he was chairman of the board from 1977 to 1984.

As a family man, he lavished attention on his four children and quietly supported his wife - even when she seemed to outshine him.

"He was so supportive, so good-natured, and never critical of the things I wanted to do," said Ernesta Ballard, a prize-winning horticulturist, former member of the Fairmount Park Commission, and an early women's-rights advocate whom some consider the godmother of Philadelphia feminism.

Even-tempered and conciliatory with a memory for poetry and a talent for growing bonsai trees, Mr. Ballard, the son of lifelong Ballard Spahr partner Frances Stoughton Ballard, was also a top-notch attorney. He argued before the Supreme Court, was chairman of the Board of Law at the University of Pennsylvania for seven years, and continued his legal practice beyond his 70th birthday.

"Fred was a fabulous lawyer," said David L. Cohen, chairman of Ballard Spahr. "He was as comfortable advising CEOs as he was litigating cases in federal court. You don't have many lawyers who are that good."

Cohen said that to many younger attorneys, Mr. Ballard "represented the quintessential Ballard Spahr partner" - a deft blend of intellect, judgment and skill.

His career may have been the law, but Mr. Ballard treated the many positions he held with charitable, social and educational institutions as serious work.

He was a member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Welfare and an early advocate of expanded support for poor families. After two of his daughters attended Radcliffe College, he became a member of the board of trustees at the onetime women's college.

"He was ahead of his time in terms of understanding the importance of education for women, the importance of equal opportunity for women, the importance of treating women as full citizens," said Mr. Ballard's daughter, Dr. Sophie B. Bilezikian, a retired internist.

Mr. Ballard's own education began at Chestnut Hill Academy and in the tenured halls of the St. George's School in Newport, R.I.

As if following an unbreakable family mandate, Mr. Ballard and his three brothers all studied law and went into practice.

Mr. Ballard's legal career was suspended during World War II while he served in the Navy.

After the war, he returned to Ballard Spahr and remained until his retirement in 1987.

Like his wife of 61 years, Mr. Ballard found the lure of soil and plant irresistible. He collected and tended more than 100 bonsais, carefully shaping and pruning each tiny tree. He served as president of the National Bonsai Foundation during the 1980s.

The trees remain.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Ballard is survived by a son, Frederick L.; daughters Ernesta and Alice W.; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Funeral services will be private.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104 or the National Bonsai Foundation Inc., care of Chris Yeatanis, treasurer, 4228 Berritt St., Fairfax, Va. 22030.

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