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SnowCap volunteer turns 100

Church honors Maude Ballard's years of giving

Maude Moffit Ballard's motto is, 'Do something nice for someone every day.'

That, and following the Golden Rule, have guided Ballard's career, which included teaching at several levels and volunteer service at numerous agencies.

Ballard, 100, is one of the oldest volunteers ever to serve at SnowCap Community Charities, which serves low-income folks in East County. On March 18, parishioners at Gresham's Covenant Presbyterian Church honored Ballard by bringing to the church hundreds of gifts suitable for donation to SnowCap in Ballard's name.

Born March 6, 1912, in Moffit, N.D.(the town was named after her pioneer family), she moved to Portland in 1934 where she found employment at the old Montgomery Ward store in that company's mail order department.

She later held down a management position with a Portland mortgage company. Her husband, Claude, was an officer with the International Woodworkers Union, and he insisted she 'get some college.'

At age 53 she enrolled at Portland State University (then Portland State College) and obtained a bachelor's degree in three years. She followed that with a master's degree in business education and began a new career in teaching. She taught high school shorthand, typing, general business and clerical classes. She later instructed students in business courses at Mt. Hood and Portland Community Colleges.

She worked far beyond the normal retirement age so she could provide care for her husband, who was confined to a care center with Alzheimer's disease.

By the age of 80, Ballard decided to 'slow down a little, so I retired.' She also had been teaching business classes at an east Multnomah County alternate high school.

She jumped into volunteering at Loaves and Fishes, delivering Meals-On-Wheels, and signed up in 1992 for data entry duty at SnowCap, a job she still works at part-time. She revels in tracking down information on donors, who don't always provide sufficient information on their paperwork.

'Maude is dogged and determined,' says SnowCap Executive Director Judy Alley. 'SnowCap has a good database today because Maude was persistent about getting things right.'

In fact, SnowCap has honored Maude by naming a chair in its business office 'The Maude Ballard Chair.'

'It's kind of like an honorary academic chair at a university,' Alley says.

The Rev. Patricia Berger, a pastor at Covenant, helped plan the special l00th birthday observance for Ballard at the church.

'We have asked our parishioners to bring in gifts in quantities of 100 that can be donated to SnowCap in Maude's name,' Berger says. 'And we've had some unusual gifts come in. One hundred rolls of toilet paper, 100 pencils, 100 pounds of rice, 100 potatoes. We've even received 100 diapers for SnowCap's mothers with infants.'

More than 100 participants attended the birthday party on Sunday.

Ballard, who lives in the independent living section of the Russellville Park senior community, rides the TriMet LIFT bus to get to church and SnowCap as well as to go shopping and do other activities.

'Wherever she goes and whatever she volunteers for, her presence is cherished,' Berger says.

Always active, Ballard even bowled in league competition until a few years ago and was featured on a Portland television station on her 95th birthday at a Gresham bowling lane.

'I made up my mind that I was going to keep busy, keep helping my community for as long as I live,' she says.