Don Lavern Ballard III


Don Lavern Ballard III

August 18, 1973 ~ Novemer 16, 2018 


Don Lavern Ballard III chose to pass on November 16, 2018. He was just 45. As is often the case with extraordinary, complex souls, he could no longer grapple with his demons, his responsibilities, his pain. And to be candid, with the pain it caused those that he loved. 


Donny was an intensely passionate man. He loved deeply. He was fierce and extensively well-read about things that interested him. He had a brilliant, constantly-racing mind and a dry, scathing wit. He was funny and had an infectious, ridiculous, guffawing laugh. But he was also always the first to tear up at stories of good triumphing over evil, parents’ neverending abiding love, the underdog in victory. 


Don absolutely rejoiced in the presence of his daughter, Avery Kaye, 3. He was in awe of her and felt astoundingly blessed. He said again and again, “She is the best thing I’ve ever done.” 


He was smarter than any of us. He was that guy who did the NY Times crossword puzzle, the Saturday one, yeah, in ink. Every week. A zealous Jeopardy nut too, he was a walking encyclopedia on topics ranging from history to sports to music to science. His family often thought he had a photographic memory. Oh, and that IQ that was off the charts. 


He could chat up anyone, and was always an engaged conversationalist, truly delighting especially in informed, meaty debate. His vernacular was tremendous too, but he wasn’t demeaning to those less vociferous. A Renaissance man he truly was. 


He was blessed to have several beautiful love affairs in his life with remarkable women that his family is blessed to still care for deeply. Our lives are enriched by the love he experienced. He married in 2014 and that sweet union delivered us Avery. 


Donny graduated from Mira Loma High School in Sacramento in 1991. Over the years, he worked for several companies he was very proud to be associated with like Red Hook, Trader Joe’s, Cassidy Restoration, 5-11 Tactical and SSI. 


DLB III was preceded in death by his father, Don Lavern Ballard II in 1980 and by his mother, Dixie 

Dee Sweeney in 2003. He is survived by his daughter, Avery Kaye Ballard (3) and by his brother, Jason Olcott of Lake Chelan, Wash. and his sister, Alysonn Cassidy (John) and their children, Kennedy, John Henry and Charlie. Don is also survived by sister Lin Buchman of Cloverdale, Calif., and her children Brandon, Cameron and Taylor.


For those interested in making a donation to Avery’s college fund in honor of her father, please go to and search for Alysonn Cassidy’s “Wall of Love.” 


He enriched our lives and made the world a brighter place. The void he leaves is weighty and deep. But our love will sustain us. REST IN PEACE, FINALLY, DLB III. 


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