Lance Ballou, veteran, 61-year resident
Lance Chaffee Ballou, Jr., husband of Margaret Sweeney Ballou, died Feb. 3, at home in Danbury. He was 96 years old and a resident of Ridgefield for 61 years on Main Street, before moving to Danbury two years ago. Mr. Ballou was born on Jan. 23, 1920 in Westfield, Mass. He was the son of the late Lance and Brantley McCrorey Ballou of Lynnfield Center, Mass., and a descendant of Colonel Thomas Knowlton, who founded the Connecticut Rangers, which became the Color Guard for General George Washington.
Mr. Ballou was a member of Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church, where he served on the vestry for three terms. He was president of the Men of Saint Stephen’s and was twice chairman of the annual Nutmeg Festival. He graduated early from Wakefield High in Wakefield, Mass. and was an alumni of Dartmouth College, in the class of 1941, where he worked on the college newspaper, The Lantern. He was a member of the University Club in New York City, and was a familiar figure on the golf course at Silver Spring Country Club, where he won the Senior Club Championship in 1975. At the age of 15, he was club champion at the Lucerne-in-Maine Country Club, where his family spent the summer months.
Mr. Ballou served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was captain of the U.S.S. YP414 for two years in Guadalcanal of the South Pacific. He became First Lieutenant on the U.S.S. Eltridge, a destroyer on convoy duty on the North Atlantic and finished his naval career as executive officer on destroyer escort U.S.S. Coolbaugh.
After leaving the armed services with the rank of lieutenant commander in 1945, he studied acting, production and directing at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. In 1947 he joined NBC-TV in New York City as a program promotion writer and subsequently joined the NBC television sales department in 1951.
In 1945 he was married to Marshall Means and in 1952 the Ballou family, which included children Marshall and Lance III, moved to Ridgefield from their home in Levittown, N.J. He recalled a time after the war when “he was proud as a peacock, to walk down Jones Beach with his beautiful, blonde, four-year-old daughter, Marshall, on his shoulders.”
Mr. Ballou pioneered television with top success in the NBC-TV network sales department for more than 35 years. He sold more than $1,616,000,000 worth of network television advertising – more than any other salesman in any medium at that time.
He was honored by President Eisenhower for his special service as chairman of the Eisenhower TV Plans Board in the 1952 and 1956 presidential campaigns. In the 1960s he produced a syndicated television series, American Profiles.
In 1982, Mr. Ballou entered the independent television production field and Lance Ballou Productions, is credited with the marketing and selling of Andrea Doria,The Final Chapter, Air Show, and others.
In 1989, he married Margaret Sweeney, a medical doctor, after his first wife, Marshall, died in 1987. He recalled with pride the plaque that she received calling her “one of America’s top physicians.”
With her he formed Sweeney-Ballou Productions. Together they wrote several film scripts, and children and family books. In 2009 they received an honorable mention award for two scripts, Paul Revere and Baby E, from the National Family Institute Festival in Hollywood.
Aside from his wife of 28 years, he is survived by a daughter, Marshall Carter Ballou of Ridgefield; two grandchildren, Emily Marshall Kinnaird of Los Angeles, Calif. and Lance Alexander Kinnaird of Portland, Ore., a stepson, Danny Bolles and his wife Fritzi and two step grandchildren, Danny and Charles Bolles of Pearl River, N.Y. He was predeceased by his son Lance Chaffee Ballou III in 1971, his first wife Marshall Means Ballou, and his brother Clayton Aldrich Ballou.
The Kane Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Interment was at Mapleshade Cemetery. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 10 a.m. in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Ridgefield.