Virginia Elizabeth Sweeney Ballard
May 26, 1921 – January 30, 2019
Virginia Ballard, a retired Annapolis educator and church elder, died early Jan. 30 at the Ginger Cove Health Center. She was 97.
Born May 26, 1921, in Annapolis, Virginia “Ginny” Elizabeth Sweeney was the elder daughter of Sewell Franklin Sweeney and his wife, Helen Earhart (Jones) Sweeney. On Mar. 25, 1944, Virginia married Grady Lee Ballard, Lieutenant junior grade, in St. Andrew’s Chapel at the U.S. Naval Academy. Grady was the son of Henry Grady and Mary Helen (Pierce) Ballard of Tallassee, Ala.
Mrs. Ballard was a 1938 graduate of Annapolis High School. In 1942, she completed a bachelor’s in French, summa cum laude, from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College). In 1962 and 1963, she completed a master’s in Elementary Education as well as an advanced graduate specialist diploma in Curriculum and Instruction, both from the University of Maryland. She also completed additional coursework at various institutions in fields such as linguistics, French, theology, and administration.
A master educator and teacher trainer, Mrs. Ballard taught English, French, and elementary education in the Anne Arundel County public school system where, in addition to teaching, she also supervised junior teachers, organized a program in English as a Foreign Language, and streamlined the instruction of all foreign languages for the county starting in 1964. She was instrumental in writing the National French Exam.
After retiring from her education career, Mrs. Ballard continued teaching Sunday school at First Presbyterian Church in Annapolis, where she served as an elder, choir member, and liturgist. One of her great joys was the acolyte program.
From 1968 onward, Mrs. Ballard was active in the Order of the Eastern Star, both the Annapolis and Grand Chapters, serving in roles such as Worthy Matron, Associate Grand Conductress, and Worthy Grand Matron for the State of Maryland. She established the former Treasure Seekers scholarship for the Department of Deaf Education at McDaniel College.
Finally, the longtime resident of Ginger Cove enjoyed music and song. In the early 2000s, she performed at Ginger Cove in charming musical theater productions, such as My Fair Lady and South Pacific. Mrs. Ballard was always moved and comforted by music up to and including her final days. Before moving to the health center, Mrs. Ballard lived for more than 20 years in independent living followed by a short stint in assisted living. She is survived by her son Bruce Ballard (Martha Lynn) of Durham, N.C., granddaughter Rebecca Ballard (John Means), grandson Lee Ballard (Jennifer), and great-grandson Nathaniel, the “apple of her eye”.
The family will receive friends at the John M. Taylor Funeral Home, 147 Duke of Gloucester Street Annapolis, MD 21401 on Friday from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. Funeral services will be held on Saturday at 3 PM in First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis 171 Duke of Gloucester St, Annapolis, MD 21401. Interment will take place on Monday at 11 am in Culpeper National Cemetery 305 US Ave, Culpeper, VA 22701. In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Ballard’s family invites you to celebrate her memory by donating to First Presbyterian Church in Annapolis.
- Visitation Friday, February 1, 2019
- Funeral Service Saturday, February 2, 2019
- Graveside Service Monday, February 4, 2019
Virginia Elizabeth Sweeney Ballard
February 7, 2019
So sorry for your loss. Wow 97, still we want our loved ones to live forever and so does God, So at Isaiah 25:8 we read: "He (God) will swallow up death forever. " Please find some strength from this fact in your days ahead.
Cindy Colt Welch
February 3, 2019
I was lucky enough to have Mrs. Ballard for French during high school in the early 60s. To this day I recall much of what she taught me, but especially the songs and carols she taught as well. I felt it a shame when she left teaching to work in administration, but she was accomplished in all she did.
Clint & Pam Spence
February 2, 2019
We send our sympathetic love to Bruce, Martha Lynn, Becky, Lee and family. We will be praying for all of you at 3 o'clock today and tomorrow at the graveside.
Clint & Pam
February 1, 2019
We knew Mrs. Ballard as foreign language teachers in Anne Arundel Public Schools and members of Chapter 46 OES. Please accept our deepest sympathy on her passing. May happy memories bring smiles to your lips and joy to your heart even as you grieve. Walt and Sue Guzik