AKRON -- Former longtime Akron Mayor John S. Ballard died Saturday night after battling Alzheimer's disease for the past few years. He was 89.
Ballard was mayor from 1966 until 1980.
Mayor Don Plusquellic said, "The people of Akron lost a great friend and public servant with the passing of Mayor John Ballard. I extend my condolences to his wife Pat, to his children, and to his extended family. John was Mayor when I came to city council 39 years ago. I know as well as anyone what it takes to be the long-serving mayor of a city and the problems that come with the job."
Ballard was born and raised in Akron and graduated from West High School and the University of Akron. He was a combat infantryman and officer in Europe during World War II.
Following the war, Ballard attended law school at the University of Michigan, then worked as an FBI agent in Baltimore for four years after graduation.
After returning to Akron with his family, he worked in private law practice before becoming Akron's prosecutor.
He ran unsuccessfully for the state legislature and U.S. Senate. He was elected Summit County prosecutor in 1956, holding the job until 1964. He won the race for mayor in 1965, taking office in 1966 and serving until 1980.