A. Wayne Ballard Jr.

Age 78 Bethlehem Steel foreman was an accomplished photographer specializing in Baltimore scenes.

August 05, 2008|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN REPORTER

A. Wayne Ballard Jr., a retired Bethlehem Steel Corp. foreman and photographer who specialized in Baltimore scenes, died Wednesday from complications after surgery at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He was 78.

Mr. Ballard was born in Moreland, Okla., and moved with his family to Dundalk in 1942. He graduated from Polytechnic Institute in 1948, where he had played varsity football.

"He was an outstanding student and football player and was first team All-Maryland tackle at 175 pounds," said Charles "Chubby" Wagner, who was the team captain. "Heck, at that weight today, they wouldn't you let be water boy."

For the last 60 years, Mr. Wagner had organized a team reunion dinner.

"We just had our 60th in April at the Hopkins Club," said Mr. Wagner, former owner of the Cummins-Wagner Co. Inc. "Wayne always took the team picture, and you could always tell where he was. He'd fix the camera, set the timer, and then race into the edge of the picture."

Mr. Wagner began working at Bethlehem Steel in 1949 and at the same time attended what is now Drexel University in Philadelphia through its co-op program.

He earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1952. He worked at Bethlehem's Sparrows Point plant for 36 years, retiring in 1985 as general foreman.

A longtime resident of La Paix Lane in Towson, Mr. Ballard and his wife of 56 years, the former Jean Louise Tydings, were active in the American Field Service and served as host parents to students from South Africa, Argentina and France.

He was also an active member of the Baltimore Council for International Visitors and was a former Towson High School PTA president.

In 1978, Mr. Ballard joined the Baltimore Camera Club, where he served as president several times and was an instructor.

"He was also a prolific photographer of Baltimore scenes," said a daughter, Amy L. Ballard-Eid of Chevy Chase. "He designed and built three cameras and also used his Nikons and Leicas."

In addition to building cameras, he built and installed dark rooms in his old Hopkins Road home in Rodgers Forge, and later at La Paix Lane, near Towson University, where he moved in the 1980s.

Mr. Ballard specialized in black-and-white, monochromatic photography.

"Wayne's work was akin to that of A. Aubrey Bodine's, and he holds the highest club point score in the black-and-white, monochromatic category," said Karen Messick, current president of the Baltimore Camera Club. "He really was an outstanding photographer."

Ms. Messick recalled the night Mr. Ballard entered a photo of a Maryland red fox for a club competition.

"I've always wanted to photograph a red fox because I think they're beautiful, and one night, Wayne entered a portrait of one," she said. "It was all furry and looked like it just came from being groomed, absolutely beautiful. When I asked him where he got the image he said his back yard. I still have yet to get a good shot of one."

Elmer H. Wingate Jr., a retired insurance salesman and fellow Poly classmate, said, "Wayne was a great guy and his photography was always so neat and clever." Mr. Wingate, a Stoneleigh resident, owns several prints of his friend's work.

Mr. Ballard also was an accomplished woodworker and gardener. He was an avid theatergoer and concertgoer and longtime subscriber to Center Stage, the old Morris A. Mechanic Theater and the Lyric.

He was a communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer.

Services are private.

Also surviving are a son, David W. Ballard of Churchville; five other daughters, Victoria T. Strand of Towson, Melissa J. Reznick of Baltimore, Jessie E. Albee of Rodgers Forge, Megan T. B. Carlton of Marblehead, Mass., and Louise Becker of Suffren, N.Y.; 17 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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