Cheryl Ballard went home for Christmas on Monday, December 11, 2023 at the age of 81. While she will be missed by her loved ones, this was a joyous day for her. She spent many years in a failing physical frame and endured immense pain. However, she fully believed in the promise that, "The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its perfect frame." (Alma 11:43).
She is preceded in death by her parents, John and Thora Ballard, brother Leon Ballard and his wife Flora, and her sister Sue Ballard Wood. She is survived by her sister Lonna Ballard Smoot, her brother James Harvey Ballard and his wife Kristene, along with 3 generations of nieces and nephews.
We will gather to bid her farewell at noon on Friday, January 5, 2024, at the Snowflake Main Street LDS Chapel. A viewing will be held from 10:00-11:45.
Cheryl was born on August 18, 1942, in Snowflake, AZ. She was the third child of John Henry Ballard and Thora Shumway Ballard. As a child, she was her father's shadow and a great source of pride to both her parents. Cheryl was known for her athletic abilities, including basketball, baseball and track. In schoolyard games, she was often picked first by the boy's teams. The high school coach lamented that she could not be their star pitcher because she was a girl. She accumulated a shelf full of ribbons and trophies as well as a few scars as proof of her competitive excellence.
She had a way with animals. When the family milk cow, Taters, was being stubborn, Cheryl serenaded her with "Your Cheatin' Heart Will Tell On You", which always seemed to do the trick! She was also fond of horses and participated in local rodeo events. Around the age of 14, Cheryl was persuaded that she could handle a thoroughbred racehorse (her father approved, but her mother was not informed until it was announced at the starting line). Cheryl won the race... but got half-way to the neighboring town of Taylor before the horse stopped! With her prize money, she bought a 22 rifle, a baseball mitt, and a new school sweater.
Cheryl also loved music and dancing. She played trumpet with both the high school band and a local dance band. She could make her instrument wail like Perez Prado playing "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White". She enjoyed singing and participated in church plays and high school productions. She loved seeing her nieces and nephews develop musical talents as well.
Upon graduation, Cheryl worked to save money for college. She was employed as a teller at a local bank, then as a clerk in Los Angeles drugstore while staying with her older sister Sue. After one year at Brigham Young University, Cheryl transferred to UCLA to study radiology at the School of Dentistry. She spent over a decade there, mentoring students in clinical practicums and assisting facial reconstruction teams. Her time in California was special, as she was near her older brother, Leon, and watched his children grow up. She made life-long friends through church callings and temple service. Cheryl was a gospel scholar. She was always willing and able to articulate her testimony eloquently.
In 1980, the Eastman Kodak company came calling, with an offer to work in their radiology division. This meant a cross-country move to Rochester, NY. The new role involved extensive travel, from Hong Kong to Johannesburg to the Holy Land. Her nieces and nephews were thrilled to receive souvenirs from far away places, and the unlimited supply of Kodak film came in handy! Cheryl built a beautiful house in Pittsford, NY, where she hosted sister missionaries year-round, as well as visiting General Authorities during the Hill Cumorah Pageant seasons.
In 1990, Cheryl moved back to Arizona and worked with a public relations firm in the Phoenix area. One of her most memorable assignments was to help prepare a European tour for The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and accompany them on it.
After a time, Cheryl began working for her younger brother, Jim, at the Mesa and Flagstaff offices of Ballard Truss. She retired in 2008, due to declining health. However, she was still able to serve in the Family History Center, doing name extraction, and as an ordinance worker in the Mesa temple. She experienced many tender moments while helping others receive eternal blessings.
As severe arthritis and fractures from multiple falls took their toll, Cheryl was grateful for the loving care of family, ward members and home health care workers. Eventually, it became necessary to sell her lovely condo and move to an assisted living center. Her ward in Gilbert, AZ rallied around her, especially her wonderful Ministering Sisters and Relief Society Presidents. It was very important to Cheryl that the brethren made sure she could continue to partake of the Sacrament weekly.
For the last three years, Cheryl was confined to her bed, although, her mind, spirit and sense of humor remained strong. Such perseverance in the face of trials is inspiring! She relished visits, letters, photos and phone calls from family and friends. During the last video chats at Christmas and her birthday, she made sure to share her testimony with her nieces and nephews. She wanted to leave no doubt that she knew of the reality of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the blessings His Gospel brings. Thankfully, we have an audio recording, which we'll have the privilege of hearing as the closing remarks at her funeral.
Friday, January 5, 2024
10:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)
Friday, January 5, 2024
1:15 - 1:45 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)