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At 93 he runs, lift weights and sings

The Sunday after Bob Ballou Day, Ballou, left, continued to receive congratulations. Here he shakes hands with Kevin Peterson after the service at First United Methodist Church. (Photo by Doug Buell)

Bob Ballou, 93, was honored with his own special day.

Mayor Emily Larson read a proclamation declaring May 13 as Bob Ballou Day in Duluth during a Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra luncheon. The purpose of the luncheon was to draw attention to the programs of the symphony, especially the youth orchestra.

Ballou has sung in the DSSO chorus for more than 50 years.

Rebecca Petersen, executive director of the DSSO, said she sees him at all the DSSO concerts. "I love that at age 93 he's still relevant in the ways he helps the community," she said. "He's an enthusiast."

Ballou donated money to purchase new risers for the chorus.

Singing takes powerful lungs, and one way to keep those lungs in shape is to work out.

Bob is an active member of the Duluth YMCA, which gave a gift to the DSSO in his honor.

"We see him as an inspiration for wellness," said Kevin Peterson, development officer of Duluth YMCA. "He's been able to do what he does because health and wellness has been part of his life throughout the years."

Joining the Duluth YMCA in the 1960s, Ballou is one of the oldest active members of the Duluth YMCA, working out three days a week, including running the treadmill and lifting weights. As a youth, Ballou was involved in gymnastics.

"We feel that Bob is such an inspiration through his own personal dedication," Kevin Peterson said. "He quietly goes around and has quite an impact."

Naomi Yaeger

Naomi Yaeger is a freelance writer and the former editor of the Budgeteer. See her blog at