|Birth: ||Jan. 25, 1902|
|Death: ||Jun. 8, 1985|
Joe was born in 1902 at Boulder Colorado, and raised near Oshkosh Nebraska. The family called him by his middle name, Elmer. When he was six he came down with polio. He was in a hospital in a room with five other boys with polio. In those years there wasn't much hope for survival. A nurse asked if she could take one of the boys and try a new therapy she had heard of. She was granted permission and she chose Joe. Joe survived but the other five boys succumbed to the disease. The doctor said Joe would only live six months. He stretched it to 82 years. Joe's Father Cyrus W. Ballinger (Find A Grave # 82778234) died in 1905 due to a fall.
The disease left him with a bad limp. He wore braces and walked with crutches for a considerable time. His upper body strength developed so he could walk on just the crutches without his feet touching the ground. He couldn't participate in games with the other children. When in his teens he got a job plowing a farmer's fields with a Fordson tractor with steel lug wheels. He earned enough during the Summer to purchase his first Ford Model T. It did not run and they towed it home behind the family car and Joe took it all apart. His Mother thought it was a lost cause. When he put it back together it ran to her surprise. It was the first of fifteen Model T;s he owned. When it snowed Joe took two 55 gallon barrels and cut them in the middle and bolted them to the wheels of his Model T and rode on top of the snow drifts.
He modified one with a two speed rear axle, Rocky Mountain transmission and overhead valve head and stream lined it with sheet metal and could do 60 miles per hour. He was a natural born mechanic and very good driver. Working on his Model T's was his main hobby. King Riley was a local race driver and held several records. He and Joe got in a race going South from Oshkosh. Joe was in the lead and crossed a narrow bridge across the North Platte River at full speed. Riley admitted later that he had to slow down when he crossed. He asked Joe if he would ride with him as a mechanic which was common in some races but he turned him down.
Joe attended the Berea Swedish Lutheran Church which was near the town of Froid, South of Oshkosh Nebraska. The town of Froid and the church was started by Joe's Grandfather, Andrew F. Froid (Find A Grave Memorial # 23724881) and several families that came from Sweden in the 1800's. He attended a one room school and only went through the 8th grade. His Mother, Christine Froid Ballinger was the school teacher. The town of Froid disappeared in the early 1900's and reverted to farm land. Joe's Mother Christine (Find A Grave #23724709) married John E. Carlson (Find A Grave # 42734862) sometime after Cyrus's death.
The family including A.F. Froid moved to California and lived on a small ranch just South of Turlock in the late 1920's. Joe married Dorothy Viola Drake (Find A Grave # 72112654) in 1931 and lived on his Mother Christine Froid Carlson and Step Father John E. Carlson's ranch. Joe worked as a truck mechanic at a local truck shop After their children, Leslie (1932) and Janet (1933) were born they constructed a small house on the property next to the ranch house. This done during the Great Depression when money and material was hard to come by. John C. Drake (Find A Grave # 84056101) was a carpenter and Joe's Father in Law helped with the construction. Joe and Dorothy lived in the house until World War Two started. In 1942 they moved to North Sacramento when they both got jobs at McClellan Army Air Force Base. Joe worked in sparkplugs and later overhauled magnetos. He invented a tool for holding the magneto points when dressing them. It was said he was the best magneto repairman at the air base. Dorothy worked as a Liberian for the Adjutant General and had top secret clearance. The family didn't know what she did until long after the war ended.
When the war ended Joe's job did also. Dorothy was still needed and kept working. With the able bodied service men coming home and Joe's disability he couldn't find a job in Sacramento. Being discouraged he moved back to the ranch in Turlock. He worked in the cannery as a machine repairman but had to quit because he couldn't stand up long. In 1946-47 Dorothy divorced him and stayed in Sacramento.
In 1950 Joe married Lois M. McNally (Find A Grave # 55756705), a grammar school classmate he had in Nebraska. Together they delivered the Turlock Journal newspaper for over 40 years. Joe had great work ethics and tried several ways to make additional money. He made potato chips in the tank house and sold them at small country stores until a large potato chip manufactory lowered their prices in just those stores until he had to go out of business. He tried raising chinchillas, making rubber name and address stamps, copper plating baby shoes, and raising rabbits. He owned and operated a coin operated laundry for a while and owned four houses he maintained and rented out. All this while delivering papers six days a week.
Joe's Mother Christine died in 1958 and several years later his Step Father John moved to Nebraska and sold his ranch in Turlock. Joe moved into one of his houses and eventually sold the others. When he got physically unable to drive Lois tried but due to her poor driving skills they had to retire. After being active all his life retirement was hard on him. He died in 1985 from congestive heart failure. Joe, with his great sense of humor and good nature was a joy to be around.
Respectively written from memory and stories told by Christine and Joe himself.
Les Ballinger (Find A Grave # 47982813)
Cyrus W. Ballinger (1864 - 1905)
Christine Louise Froid Carlson (1872 - 1958)
Dorothy Viola Drake Ehrhardt (1913 - 2011)
Lois May McNally Ballinger (1909 - 2000)
Orville Wilson Ballinger (1892 - 1930)*
Lillian Ballinger Olson (1899 - 1982)*
Joseph Elmer Ballinger (1902 - 1985)
Note: b CO; h/o Lois M; fp ref # 10220; mkr Joseph E & Lois M Ballinger; mmn Froid
Turlock Memorial Park
Plot: Lot 410 Block 33
GPS (lat/lon): 37.49664, -120.86512
Maintained by: Les Ballinger
Originally Created by: Ed Smith
Record added: Aug 02, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 55756706