Dennis Roy Ballard

Dennis Roy Ballard, 82, of Sturgeon, Missouri, passed away peacefully on January 3rd, 2024. His wife of 63 years, Rita Kay Ballard, was at his side. Born November 1, 1941, to Mervin “Buck” Ballard and Dorothy Ballard of Red Oak, Iowa, Dennis graduated from Red Oak High School in 1959, and continued his education at the University of Iowa, graduating in 1965.

Dennis is survived by his wife Rita and their three children: Mark Ballard of Columbia, Missouri; Scott and Rhonda Ballard of Gainesville, Georgia; and Carey Ballard of Bisbee, Arizona. Also surviving are six grandchildren and one great grandson: Emma Scheiderer of Springfield, Missouri; Lindsay Ballard of Atlanta, Georgia; Eric Ballard of Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Kelli Ann Ballard of Kennesaw, Georgia; Brandon and Danielle Ballard of Gainesville, Georgia; and son of Emma Scheiderer, Benny Scheiderer of Springfield, Missouri.

In addition to being a dedicated, loving, and compassionate life partner to Rita, a fully committed role model to his children, and a warm, kind and generous grandfather, Dennis’ love for the outdoors, the art and science of archery, and the sport of bow hunting knew no bounds. As a life-long hunter and fisherman, Dennis published his first article in Archery Magazine in 1970 and, over the next 50 years, published more than 100 articles and columns, all sharing his passion for archery, bowhunting and the Great Outdoors. Most notably, Dennis authored the very first widely published review of the compound bow and helped to propel a revolution in the archery industry while bringing a new generation of archers and bow hunters into the heritage and joy of archery.

Following a highly successful career with the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he supported clinical research critical to the health and wellness of Veterans, Dennis served as Executive Director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, whose mission is ‘to ensure the conservation of Missouri’s wildlife and natural resources and the preservation of (Missouri’s) rich outdoor heritage…’ In this role, Dennis represented thousands of ‘citizen conservationists’ throughout the state, working to enhance Missouri’s natural resources through state and national-level initiatives and giving them a voice before the Missouri General Assembly and the Missouri Departments of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Dennis’ list of accolades, achievements, and recognitions is extensive, including but not limited to:
-1993 Conservationist of the Year (Conservation Federation of Missouri)
-1994 G. Andy Runge Award (Missouri Chapter – The Wildlife Society)
-1996 Master Conservationist (Missouri Conservation Commission)
-2007 Conservation Award (Pope and Young Club)
-2011 “Safari” – a one-man stage performance showcasing Dr. Saxton Pope at the Pope & Young club’s 50th anniversary convention.
-2013 “Art Young” – a one-man stage performance showcasing Art Young at the 2013 Pope & Young bi-annual convention.

Among his many contributions, none will be as lasting and impactful as Missouri’s ‘Share the Harvest Program,’ for which Dennis is credited. Share the Harvest is a hunter-led program designed to share surplus venison with Missourians in need. Signed into law by Governor Mel Carnahan in 1993, the program provides nearly 250,000 pounds of venison each year, totaling over five million pounds since the program’s inception. A lifelong ambassador for wildlife conservation, archery, and the sport of bow hunting, Dennis’ contributions will remain impactful for many generations to come, he will indeed be missed.

“It seems like only yesterday that I braced my Kodiak bow for the first time, strapped on a quiver of cedar shafts, and headed into the river bottoms in search of prey. My what a journey it has been.”

Denny Ballard
To honor the memory of Dennis, a “Celebration of Life” will take place on Saturday, March 9th at 12PM at Red Top Christian Church located at: 14355 North U, Hallsville, Missouri. There will be a short service followed by a catered lunch and storytelling by those assembled.


  1. Kris Dallman on January 10, 2024 at 3:18 pm

    Rita, Mark, Bottles, Carey, and family,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your husband and dad’s contributions and accolades will leave a lasting mark on Missouri. I know he was a hands-on father to Bottles and his siblings which I know will leave a lasting impression on them.

    I hope your memories will give you peace and comfort. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.?

  2. Kathryn Sapnas on January 10, 2024 at 10:00 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to Mr. Ballard’s life well-lived. Please accept my deepest condolences on his passing. May his Memory Be Eternal!

  3. Catherine Ewing on January 12, 2024 at 2:21 pm

    My sincerest sympathies for you and your family in this time of sorrow. May the love and the beauty of Mr. Ballard’s life be the sunshine in your darkness. May you find comfort and warmth from those closest to you. Keeping the entire Ballard family in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Anu Thomas on January 12, 2024 at 6:27 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Please accept my deepest condolences. Keeping Scott and family in thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

  5. Heather Arredondo on January 12, 2024 at 7:44 pm

    My heart goes out to you and your family. You all are in my thoughts.

  6. Storm Morgan on January 17, 2024 at 5:45 pm

    My deepest condolences to you and your family. May you find comfort by embracing the precious time and memories you experienced together.

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