Harry was such a class act. Many of us in the Office of the Actuary, where Harry served his entire career, learned so much from Harry, as we did from the Bobs- Bob Ball and Bob Myers. Harry was a mentor to several generations in the office.
As longtime actuary at SSA, he worked on all components of the OASDI program. Harry was involved in every detail of the computations and the presentation and was hugely respected by all. Harry was soft spoken, but he was strong and decisive. His work until 1982 in the Short-Range estimates component of the Office of the Actuary spanned several major reforms, including the 1972 and 1977 Social Security Amendments. His leadership and ability to command the respect and confidence of policymakers vastly expanded the ability of the office to assist and influence policy in Congress and in the Administration.
His bio is remarkable in its brevity but the job titles say it all. “Harry C. Ballantyne was the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration from 1982 through 2000. He began his career with the Social Security Administration as an actuary in 1958.” Harry received his BS from Iowa State College. He majored in Physics, and was such an impressive student that he was hired upon graduation, on the basis of a phone interview.
What many may not realize is that Social Security is a living program, with technical changes nearly every year. And dozens of potential changes are considered each year that do not result in legislation. One of the most important and fundamental changes came for Social Security in the 1983 Amendments. Harry was elevated to Chief Actuary during this period and played an influential role in developing the Amendments, working tirelessly with Congressional staff. Even after the dramatic legislative changes of 1983. Harry supervised continuing work for the Trustees of OASDI, making sure everything was as accurate as possible, so Americans would have accurate information on Trust Fund solvency over the 75 years horizon.
And for us who chose government service as a career, we note with pleasure his recognitions: Mr. Ballantyne received several Commissioner's Citation Awards, two Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Awards, and two Presidential Distinguished Executive Rank Awards. We miss Harry, but his legacy lives on.