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Dallas James Ballmer:

Life story (short version)
Born in Houston, MS
Lived in Mississippi for first 18 years
Moved to Lake Charles for my senior year
Graduated 1970 and went on to McNeese
Went into USAF 1972
Honorably discharged 1976 ANG to 1978 SSgt
Worked in Communication field on MS River and City of Baton Rouge
Worked for DEMCO 1978-1984 Electronics SCADA
Work for [GSU now Entergy] at River Bend Station '84-Present
I&C, Metrologist and Simulator Hardware Support
Married Dawn Richard in 1995 and still happy
Hope to retire and travel more 2007
oh yea...Webmaster of several web
pages including ours
www.lagrange70.com


dballmer@cox.net
 

 

 

Shorter Story
Last updated 12-08-17

Dawn and I retired in 2008.  We travel, drink wine and enjoy dinning out with friends.  We flooded (33 in.) Aug 2016 and have been recovering from that for well over a year.  Is a home ever finished?  I enjoy scuba diving, snow skiing, travel, fishing, computers and wine (not necessarily in that order).  We have been busy the past year with the flood, caring for Dawn’s mother (on most days) and with those restraints unable to leave for more than a few days at a time.  We have seen parts of the world: Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Central America, Thailand, Canada, Europe, Norway, Italy, Germany, Amsterdam, and 48 states with N&S Dakota as the two we haven’t seen…hard to complain at all.  We have skied California, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, Banff and British Columbia.  We have had some wonderful trips.

I was at LaGrange HS my senior year only.  It was a shock to see 600+ classmates in my class when I only had about that many in the whole county school in Mississippi my junior year.  Had fun.

I am retired nuclear...as a Metrologist and simulator specialist.  I followed up retirement with 7 years as a Metrology Engineer supporting six calibration labs.   I have been working with computers since early 1973.  I have seen many changes and keep up with it still.  Webbing is a hobby and sharing my knowledge with others wanting to learn some of my skills…a legacy.

Short Story
Last updated 03-11-08

We both finally retired from our jobs (me-Feb 1) (Dawn-Jan 25th) and set out on a “retirement trip”.  Once you retire I suppose they are not vacations any longer.  We rented a 4WD Highlander and drove (Feb-08) from Baton Rouge through TX, NM, CO, UT, ID, OR, WA (We headed for Mt. St. Helens to see what we can then on just north of Seattle to visit with our cousin for an evening), then to Victoria, BC (Vancouver Island) where we spent seven days (at Rosewood Inn B&B) walking and driving around exploring a wonderful region.  We saw Butchart and Abkhazi Gardens and walked around the beautiful city enjoying all the beautiful area.  After we left Rosewood we stayed at Pacific Shores (Nanoose Bay) for two nights to wash our clothes however it probably turned out to be the nicest place we stayed.  It was like a fairly large apartment having a separate bedroom, full kitchen, living room and a gorgeous facility with very scenic staging on the bay.  We enjoyed the slopes at Whistler/Blackcomb for a couple of days then wondered around the area for a few more days… wow, it was breathtaking.  After that we went to Vancouver and walked around the town for several days enjoying the many sights it has to offer.  We dropped down to Sonoma and Napa (for three days) to pick up several cases of wine (36 bottles of very good stuff).  Big Red is our favorite from Clos DuBois, Thumbprint, Selby, Simi, Michelle Slumberger and Harland Estates to name a few.  I have an 80 bottle cellar that stays full and I constantly have keep it sampled down for new stock.  Can anyone help me out with this problem? Then we left for Phoenix by way of I-10 just north of Los Angeles.  We spent an enjoyable evening with a friend there and took off to see my sister in El Paso…then the next day we went to Houston to visit Dawn’s brother.  We made it home Sunday and have been resting.  Well the grass did need cutting and we have partially unpacked…but other than that we are resting.  That was the longest trip we have ever done but have to say that neither of us got homesick.  It was just very enjoyable.  We traveled 7,006 miles and was gone from February 8th to March 9th (as I said…the grass needed cutting since it has been warm for most of the winter.  If you are ever in the mood to come our way be sure to let us know and we will be here to visit with you.   Ahhhhh yes, we also have some wine to enjoy.

April (late) we have plans to take another extended trip to Darien, Connecticut to visit a cousin (maybe a trip to NYC to see a play and dinner), Quebec City and Montreal with a week in Mont Tremblant to ski and see the area making a three week driving trip out of that as well.  We have scattered a few weekends in New Orleans and off to see friends and family in Jacksonville/Orlando, Florida that summer.  I doubt we will get bored...

Long Story
Last updated 04-29-06

Once upon a time...I was a little boy...(guess I can skip the early years).  I grew up as the eldest son of a Chiropractor.  My father thought the world of me and we fished, went hunting and camping.  I became a boy scout and went through the Cub Scouts all the way through the scouting program.  My father became a Boy Scout Executive and championed me through the ranks teaching me all the things a Boy Scout needs to know.  I built fires, chopped wood, learned all the knots and learned the values of a good young boy.  I said yes sir, yes 'mame and followed the morals and values of the scout law and promise.  I revered the flag and our nations' great symbol.  I always told the truth and was painfully honest but still was a tough boy through-and-through.  To my fathers delight, I earned the rank of Eagle with two Silver Palms and belonged to the OA with Brotherhood status.  In 1969 I was hired to be a Ranger (guide in the mountains) at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico.  These were the things that brought me through life and into the big city.  When I left my summer job at Philmont, I got a bus ticket to Lake Charles, LA (where ever that was).  You see, I lived in the country most of my early years (until 18 or so) then I moved to Lake Charles for my senior year.  Of course you do not see Lake Charles that way and after 36 years in Baton Rouge, I don't either.  I assure you it was the big city to me with different types of people (like Cajuns) I had never been around.  They talked funny to me and I thought it was cool (sort of).  Save the dishes, turn the hose-pipe on...it went on and on... when I brought my first date home, she asked me if I wanted to get down...right!  Say...that...again?  I learned to enjoy the food, customs and the whole culture of this part of the country.  I finished my senior year with 729 (or so) classmates and it has taken me 36 years to realize they are some of the finest people I could have been associated with.

I went to McNeese for a couple of yeas and joined the USAF spending four years in electronics/Ground Radio Communications at Barksdale AFB, SAC at the transmitter facility there.  I got out in 1976 and moved to Denham Springs for a few months then on to Baton Rouge.  I have lived in Baton Rouge and worked on the Mississippi River repairing radios, radar, and whatever was broken for a couple of years.  I then went to work for the City of Baton Rouge at the radio shop doing various communication work with the city parish (Police, Fire, DPW and other groups).  In 1978 I went to work for the DEMCO electric co-op in this area running their radio, microwave, computer and SCADA equipment over the whole system (for 6.5 years).  GSU brought me into their computer group and I ended up training for instrumentation and reactor physics early in 1984/85.  I started-up the plant at St. Francisville (River Bend Nuclear Station) out of the construction and in one week we are refueling for the 13th time.  In 1988 I moved from the instrumentation shop to the Standards Lab and have been there for the last 18 years as a Metrologist.  I have remained in ongoing education (in one form or another) my entire career.  I have taken three levels of Nuclear Physics, Calculus, Trig, and Algebra with Material Behavior and some English, History and C++ Programming.  Most of it was with the University of Tennessee and LSU (at night).  I completed a comprehensive Metrology course (480 hours) including theory and application of the art of measurement with error analysis and statistical studies.  My favorite reading has become technical manuals and new breaking technology in computing and electronics magazines.

In 1995 I married a fine Cajun lady (Dawn Elizabeth Richard) from Whitecastle, LA and we have been building careers and a wonderful life in Baton Rouge, LA.  We bought a home in Sherwood Forest and have enjoyed the area very much for the last decade or so.  Our home is right on Jones Creek and appears to be in the country (when in the back yard) with all the trees and wildlife.  I have two sons from a previous marriage that have gone their own way.  The youngest son is 24 and is in the Army as a (second term) Preventative Health Specialist just returning this January from a year in Iraq.  He has  been to Bosnia and Afghanistan as well.  The eldest son is 27 and attended LSU on and off for about five years in Electrical, Graphic Design and Civil Engineering.  He dropped out and pursued a career in road technology with DOTD in Baton Rouge.  He spent time building roads as an inspector and worked the past few years in the concrete and asphalt lab designing the composition of our roads.  He just moved to Jacksonville, FL to marry his high school girlfriend (he had dated for eight years) and finish his degree there.  She is a Civil Engineer for Ayres Associates.

For enjoyment, I have always loved the water and just about any type of sports.  I played five years of football (except my senior year).  Basketball was also in my interest having played the last two years previous to LaGrange.  When I moved to LaGrange and offered my services, the coaches explained that their own players had come up in the system working hard to play their senior year and they we also very good (indeed you were and I was an avid fan).  I still love the water (senior red-cross lifesaving and scout life guard), as well as canoeing and boating in general.  Regretfully, I am not in the same shape I was back in those earlier years (we worked so hard to be in that zone).  Fishing and hunting were a large part of my early years with bird hunting as one of my favorites.  Now I work so much that I get to fish about once per year and haven't been hunting for many years.  We average 300 to 500 hours of overtime per year.

Hopefully I will be able to retire June 07 and will be able to travel with my wife.  We enjoy traveling to new places very much.  This June we are going to Sonoma Valley for a week in the wine country then another week in San Francisco.  I could go on about all the trips I have made, but the main thing is we have not waited to travel at least some now.  When we get more time I hope we can make more extended trips and enjoy our country even greater.  We are avid sneaux skiers (I'm advanced, Dawn's intermediate) [having skied Kirkwood, Heavenly, Alpine Meadows, Northstar, Sqaw Valley, Jackson Hole, Grand Targhe, Big Mountain, Park City, Banff, Lake Louise, Vail, Cooper, Keystone, Beaver Creek, Winter Park]  I enjoy scuba diving in all the good sites we go to (Cozumel, Niihau, Napali, St. John, Destin, Florida).  Computing is a passion hobby of mine and has always been a natural attraction to me.  Computers still fascinate me and I enjoy the challenge of me against the machine (however I don't play the computer games much).