Danny Ballard left this world unexpectedly doing what he loved, playing in the dirt with his boys. He died Friday, June 7, 2019, at Pullman Regional Hospital.

Danny, or “Ballard,” however you knew him, was born March 11, 1959, in Bakersfield, Calif., by his parents, Ralph and Jean Ballard. Not too much later his younger brother, Brian Ballard, was born. In 1967, his parents bought the Jaques Spur store in Culdesac, where they found their home. Danny and his brother grew up working in the store with their parents as “cheap labor.”

Danny grew up outside and enjoyed everything about the outdoors. Danny and his father enjoyed fishing for steelhead on the Clearwater River and hunting for elk on horseback in the Selway-Bitterroot forest. Danny enjoyed speed and competition, racing everything from dirt bikes, skis, jet boats and pretty much everything with an engine, except a horse. Even though one of his favorite sayings was “Put the spurs to it.”

Danny and Brian were your typical brothers, always in competition with each other. Danny, according to his mother, “Was the better of the two when it came to trap shooting.” But Brian reminded him that he was there just to push him along the way. Even though they were in competition with each other, they were still brothers and the greatest friends.

One time, their parents had them sell fireworks, and Danny and his brother thought it would be a good idea one night to light off some of their products. After lighting off a few of those fireworks, they noticed a small orange light burning in the distance, and brother Brian said, “What’s that glow?” Danny turned to Brian and said, “Dad is going to be pissed!”

Danny’s racing career eventually took him to hanging out at BoJack’s restaurant with his friend, Dave Egland. It was there one night that the love of his life came through the door, and he met Kim. They instantly hit it off and both knew that they had found their life-long partners. Danny and Kim married in 2005, when Danny, a single and simple man, took on a great family. He loved it. Danny embraced the family life and loved Kim’s sons, Brandon and Zak, like they were his own. Once grandchildren came along, Danny was there for every major life event.

Danny loved his grandkids and took his time to single out each grandkid to make them feel special. With Demi, they would look up different species of snakes, and with Ryder, it was all about researching dinosaurs. With Nevaeh, their late-night visits were their special time, and with Gunnar, it was dirt bikes and hunting. That was Danny; he loved his family and would do anything for them.

Danny is survived by his wife, Kim; two sons, Brandon (Stella) Whitlock and their two sons, Gunnar and Ryder, and Zak (Katie) Whitlock and their two daughters, Nevaeh and Demi; his brother, Brian (Debbie) Ballard; and his mother, Jean Ballard.

Danny was preceded in death by his father, Ralph E. Ballard; and his grandson, Ridge E. Whitlock.

A celebration of life will be held at 3:30 p.m. Friday at his family farm in Culdesac, at 29212 Mission Creek Road. Hamburgers and beers will be served. Danny would appreciate all of his “boys” to show up in their work boots and “Have a beer!”

Kimball Funeral Home of Pullman has been entrusted with arrangements. In lieu of flowers, Danny would have appreciated all donations to be sent to the Jackson Baldwin Foundation. Online condolences may be sent to www.kimballfh.com.

Even as a kid he loved playing in the dirt.