Marguerite Kelso Ballard, 88, passed away peacefully in her sleep on the 9th of August, 2012 in Austin, Texas. She was born on the 25th of February 1924 in Gatesville, Texas to Frank Kelso and Grace Freeland Kelso. |
Marguerite attended public schools in Gatesville and enrolled in Tarleton Junior College at the young age of 16. She was Valedictorian of her class at Tarleton and then attended The University of Texas in Austin. She became a lifetime Longhorn graduating with a B.A. in 1943. While at UT she was a member of Phi Mu sorority and was very active at University Presbyterian Church. Marguerite eventually earned a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Houston.
She returned to Gatesville during World War II and worked at North Fort Hood for the duration of the war. At the end of the war she worked for the Army Corp of Engineers for two years and served a year as Director of Christian Education at Ridglea Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Teaching was her main interest, however, and she spent a total of 28 years in the field of education (mostly as an English teacher) at Waco LaVega HS, Reagan County HS, Houston Scarborough HS, and Houston Katherine Smith Elementary. "Mrs. Ballard" took great pride in the accomplishments of her students and served in such positions as class and student council sponsor, coach, yearbook and journalism teacher. She was a nominee for Teacher of the Year in Houston ISD and was named Most Outstanding Teacher of Coordinated Vocational Academic Education.
Marguerite served as an officer in numerous clubs and societies including the Geophysical Auxillary, P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Opportunities for Women), Christian Outreach, AAUW (American Association of University Women), the Symphony League, DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution), and Delta Kappa Gamma. She also organized the Northwest Council of Campfire Girls in Houston. She was extremely involved in Presbyterian Women and the Texas State PTA organizations which both recognized her service with Honorary Life Memberships. She held several different offices as a Phi Mu Alum, most notable as President of Phi Mu Foundation.
She dearly loved her church families, First Presbyterian in Gatesville, St. Giles Presbyterian in Houston and Grace Presbyterian in Lafayette, Louisiana. She was a third generation Presbyterian and maybe even beyond that. Marguerite served the church in various leadership positions highlighted by conferences in Montreat, N. Carolina and Purdue University.
She was fortunate to have been able to travel the world several times with her husband and friends of Phi Mu. She treasured her trips to China, Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, the Middle East, Central America, the Caribbean, and most of the US including Alaska and Hawaii.
Marguerite is survived by her husband of 59 years, Edwin "Buck" Ballard of New Orleans and Loranger, Louisiana, a son, Howard Ballard and his wife Tami, a daughter Beth Spann and her husband Dr. Scott Spann, all of Austin; five grandchildren, Austin, Alexi, and Scott Spann; and Kelsi and Kylie Ballard.
The family would like to thank Dr. Allen Sonstein and all of the caregivers at The Heritage at Gaines Ranch and The Summit at Westlake Hills for their tireless compassionate care.
There will be an informal reception in Houston on Saturday August 18, 2012 from five to six o'clock in the evening at St. Giles Presbyterian Church, 5900 Pinemont Road.
A Memorial Service will be conducted at one o'clock in the afternoon on Sunday, the 19th of August 2012, at Grace Presbyterian Church, 518 Roselawn Blvd., Lafayette, Louisiana.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. Giles Presbyterian Church, 5900 Pinemont, Houston, Texas 77092; Grace Presbyterian Church, 518 Roselawn Boulevard, Lafayette, La. 70503; or Phi Mu Foundation Scholarship Fund in memory of Marguerite Ballard (Phi Mu Foundation, 400 Westpark Drive,
Peachtree City, GA 30269.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Aug. 12, 2012