Francis Ballard, 88, lawyer, cofounder of first Pa. hospice

Francis Ballard
Francis Ballard
Posted: June 25, 2014

Philadelphia lawyer Francis Ballard, 88, a cofounder of the first hospice in Pennsylvania and the first in-home hospice nationwide, died of pulmonary fibrosis while in hospice care at Cathedral Village in Roxborough on Friday, June 20.

Mr. Ballard, a Philadelphia native, was born to be an attorney. His grandfather cofounded a law practice that is now the national firm Ballard Spahr, and in 1949 Francis Ballard joined his father and an older brother there.

He attended Chestnut Hill Academy, now Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, before attending boarding school at St. George's School in Newport, R.I.

He graduated from Yale University in 1946, and he earned his law degree two years later from the University of Pennsylvania.

He worked briefly for the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office before joining Ballard Spahr. He spent 41 years at the firm, specializing in corporate law, before retiring in 1990.

Beyond the courtroom, Mr. Ballard loved to be on the sea. He took up sailing as a teenager, and competed in offshore races as a young adult.

He taught his two children and four grandchildren to sail, and continued sailing throughout his life.

"I enjoyed racing with him just last summer," said his son, Francis Ballard Jr. "We actually did pretty well."

In his 50s, Mr. Ballard took up rowing at the family's summer home in Sorento, Maine, and on the Schuylkill as a member of the University Barge Club. He was still rowing up until a few years ago.

In addition to his passions for sailing and rowing, Mr. Ballard was also devoted to music.

He began singing while in boarding school - and he stuck with it well into his 80s, as a member of the chorus at Cathedral Village. He also sang with Philadelphia's Orpheus Club, the oldest men's singing group in the country, for more than 50 years.

Mr. Ballard and his wife of 58 years, Jane Catlett Ballard, sang as members of the Berkshire Choral Festival and Michael Kemp's Academy Chorale.

Long after retirement, Mr. Ballard remained committed to community outreach.

After cofounding Wissahickon Hospice, the state's first hospice program in 1982, Mr. Ballard trained as a hospice volunteer.

He was also an organizer for the Chestnut Hill-based nonprofit Green Tree Community Health Foundation, and he served as president of the boards of Chestnut Hill Hospital, Germantown Academy, and the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association.

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Ballard is survived by his daughter, Martha Barton Ballard, and four grandchildren: Ella Ames Ballard Chrenka; Anthony Taylor Chrenka; Andrew Griffith Ballard, and Patricia Catlett Ballard.

A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, June 28, at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown, 6001 Germantown Ave.

Donations may be made to Green Tree, 6 E. Willow Grove Ave., Philadelphia 19118, or Cathedral Village, 600 E. Cathedral Rd., Philadelphia 19128.


LONeal@phillynews.com

215-854-2619 215-854-2619 @LydsONeal

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