Orville Lee Ballard of Louisville, Kentucky (1896-1972).

Orville Lee Ballard was born 20 August 1896, and died 29 December 1972.1  He received his medical degree from the Howard University College of Medicine in 1923.

He registered for the military draft while in college, for his World War I Draft Registration Card dated 6 June 19182  gives a Washington, DC address at 1816 12th Street, NW, which at that time was the Anthony Bowen YMCA.3  He practiced medicine in Louisville, where he was Resident Physician at the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, a specialist in the treatment of tuberculosis.4   He joined the sanitarium in 1928, and later joined the faculty of the University of Louisville Medical School in 1953.5

In 1910 and 1920, the US Federal Census placed him in his parent’s household in Lexington, Kentucky.  By 1930 he had established his own medical practice, for the 1930 US Federal Census found the family in Waverly Hills, Kentucky, listing Orville L. Ballard, age 33; Catherine W., age 28, and Pamela, age 9/12.6

In 1943, he was honored with a Howard University Alumni Award; the other recipients that year were Zora Neale Hurston and Lt. Col. Campbell Johnson.7  He married Kathryn Wise, who was born 31 May 1901, died 26 May 1990 in Los Angeles, California,8 the daughter of Lewis P. Wise and Isabella Shadell of Louisville, Kentucky.9

His death notice appeared in the Louisville Courier Journal on 31 December 1972.10

Dr Orville L. Ballard, Sr., 76, of 661 S. 44th, died Friday at Community Hospital.  He was a native of Lexington, Ky.

He was a member of Quinn Chapel AME Church, the Falls City Medical Society, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and Psi Boule of Sigma Pi Phi.  He was senior resident physician at Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium for 31 years.

He is survived by his wife, the former Kathryn Wise; two daughters, Dr Kathryn Ballard, of Los Angeles, Calif.; and Miss Pamela Ballard; two sons, Orville L. Ballard, Jr of Los Angeles, and Dr Bruce Laine Ballard of Riverdale, N.Y., and four grandchildren.

The funeral will be at 1 pm Tuesday at A. D. Porter & Sons Funeral Home, 1300 W. Chestnut, with burial in Eastern Cemetery.  The family will be at the funeral home from 6 to 9 pm Monday.

Orville Lee Ballard and Kathryn Wise are buried in Eastern Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.11

The children of Orville Lee Ballard and Kathryn Wise were:

Pamela L., born 28 April 1929 in Waverly Hills, Kentucky, died 6 July 1990 in Los Angeles, California without issue.12

Kathryn Wise, born 10 June 1930, died 15 August 1995 without issue.  Born in Waverly Hills, Kentucky, graduated from Howard University (B.S. 1951) and received a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Michigan (M.S. 1953).  She also received a master’s degree in physiology from Western Reserve University (MS 1959) and a doctorate in physiology from the University of Southern California (USC) (PhD 1967).  She conducted postdoctoral study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden (1968-1970).  Before moving to the Washington area and joining the staff at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1987, she was an assistant professor of physiology at USC.  At the time of her death, she was a health science administrator at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of NIH.13

Orville Lee, born 14 March 1935 at Waverly Hills, Kentucky,14 died 4 September 2003 at Pacific Hospital, Long Beach, California.15  Married (1) [Wife]; married (2) [Wife].  Worked all his life as an actor and theater director.  A graduate of Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio; completed a theater arts fellowship at Karamu House in Cleveland, after which he assumed the position of technical director/lighting designer.  He moved to California, where he continued working as a lighting designer.  He taught in theater departments, including the University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Santa Cruz; and Cal Arts.  He won Drama-Logue awards for outstanding lighting design in 1987 and annually from 1993 to 1997, and an L.A. Weekly Award in 1990.16  Their children: 1.[Daughter], 2. [Son].



1. Social Security Death Index; Kentucky Death Index, 1911-2000, Vol. 66, Certificate No. 32788.

2. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Washington County, District of Columbia, Roll 1556838, Draft Board 8.

3. The Anthony Bowen Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) opened in 1912 and was the first Black YMCA in the nation. The now restored building is listed in the DC Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places.

4. See, for example, Orville L. Ballard, “Collapse Therapy of Pulmonary Tuberculosis in Negroes”, Chest 1939; 5; 15-20.

5. The New York Times, December 17, 1953, p. 39.

6. 1930 US Federal Census, District 4, Jefferson, Kentucky, Page 2A, E.D. 209.

7. “The Month,” The Crisis (April 1943), p. 102, col. 3.

8. California Death Index, 1940-1997. This index provides Kathryn Wise Ballard’s mother’s maiden name.

9. 1910 US Federal Census, Louisville, Ward 11, Jefferson, Kentucky, Page 5A, E.D. 194. The 1910 Census lists Lewis P. Wise, 55; Isabella Wise, 44; Lewis P. Wise, 19; Ernest Wise, 17; Edwa Wise, 16; George S. Wise, 14; Isabella Wise, 12; Catherine Wise, 10; Alonza B. Wise, 9. 1920 US Federal Census, Louisville, Ward 12, Jefferson, Kentucky, Page 8B, E.D. 229. The 1920 Census record lists Isabella Wise, 58 and her children Ernest Wise, 26; George Wise, 23; Catherine Wise, 19; Alonzo Wise, 18.

10. “Death and funerals in Louisville and surrounding areas.” The Louisville Courier-Journal & Times, Sunday, 31 December 1972, p. B8.

11. According to Elizabeth Wilson, she could not be buried near her husband; there was no room. Oral interview, 1990. Eastern Cemetery is located at 641 Baxter Avenue, Louisville, Ky., 40204.

12. Kentucky Birth Index, 1911-1999, Vol. 044, Certificate No. 21614; U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014.

13. The Washington Post, 18 August 1995, p. B5, col. 5. Who’s Who Among Black Americans (Educational Communications, Inc.: Lake Forest, IL, 1988 (5th Edition)), pp. 32-33.

14. Kentucky Birth Index, 1911-1999, Vol. 202, Certificate No. 93328.

15. Social Security Death Index.

16. “Obituary of Orville Lee Ballard,” Back Stage West, Thursday, October 9, 2003 (online record).


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