Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home

201 25th Ave North, Nashville, TN


Martha Phillips Ballew

August 19, 1956June 20, 2020
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Martha Phillips Ballew was born on August 19, 1956 in Tuscumbia, AL, the baby girl of Lloyd and Martha Dean Phillips. She graduated from Deshler High School in Tuscumbia, AL. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Montevallo, and her Master of Education from Vanderbilt University.

Martha relocated to Nashville, TN where she met and married her husband Kenneth Ballew in 1987. They joyfully welcomed their beautiful daughter, Claire Ballew, in 1990.

For the past thirty years, she worked at the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital as a pediatric GI dietician. Martha was absolutely devoted to her work and to the children of VCH. She was nationally respected as an expert in her field and mentored professionals all over the country. Her intelligence, wisdom and leadership have left a wonderful legacy.

Martha’s friends and family knew her kindness, joy and patience. Her sense of humor and wit offered a light to those around her.

She is preceded in death by her mother, Martha Dean Phillips and father, Lloyd Phillips. She is survived by her husband, Kenneth Ballew; daughter, Claire Ballew; step-daughter, Anne Ballew Friedland (Mike); brother, Joe Phillips (Gloria); nephew, Andy Phillips (Aiden, Max, Carolyn Alexis, and their mother Lisa Phillips); niece, Amanda Allotta (Joe and their children Sicily, Venice, and Roman); nephew, Ben; and niece Emily Pinkham (David and their children Lilly, Olive, Willow, Eden, Reuben, and Deacon).

She is deeply missed by her family, friends, and colleagues.

A scholarship fund in Martha's honor is being set up by Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the fund. Details on fund will be forthcoming.

Martha Ballew Memorial Educational Fund

The Martha Ballew Memorial Educational Fund (in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center) has been established to honor Martha Ballew’s memory as a nutritionist, educator and mentor. The fund will benefit the continuing education of nutritionists in the field of pediatric gastroenterology and hepatology.

Please see the various options below to make a gift. Online:

VanderbiltHealth.org/giving Linkhttps://give.vanderbilthealth.org/give/197783/?utm_source=ium=website&utm_content=homepg#!/donation/checkout?c_src=1680A&c_src2=websitehome

After clicking the link, please check the box - “Dedicate my donation in honor or in memory of someone”. The Honoree’s name will be requested. Please enter “The Martha Ballew Memorial Educational Fund” To make a gift by phone, please call 800-288-0028.

To make a gift by check, please send a check made payable to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to: Vanderbilt University Medical Center Development Gift and Donor Services 3322 West End Avenue, Suite 900 Nashville, TN 37203 Please include a note with the check or indicate on the memo line that the gift is made in memory of Martha Ballew (“The Martha Ballew Memorial Educational Fund”).


  • Visitation

    Friday, June 26, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, June 27, 2020


Martha Phillips Ballew

have a memory or condolence to add?

Lynn Leitson

July 5, 2020

I was greatly sadden to hear about Martha's passing. Martha and I met at Montevallo during my junior year . We became fast friends and ADPi sisters. The four of us which included my roommate, Jacquie Childs (Angle) and Martha's roommate, Kathy Taft (Duke), were often seen together around campus, sorority activities and just enjoying each others company in our dorm rooms. Lots of laughs and lots of fun.
Two years after graduation, I was able to room with Martha in her apartment in B'ham. Years went by with marriages, kids and jobs and I lost touch with her. I always wanted to see her again, rekindle our friendship and talk about our sisterhood in the Lord. But it never worked out. This will always be a great sorrow for me that I never tried harder to see her again but I know one day we will be laughing and giggling again like we did so many years ago.
My heart and prayers go out to her family during this time. She was an amazing person and friend that I will always treasure.
Lynn Ireland Leitson

Ellen Haber

June 26, 2020

Ken, Claire and Anne, I knew Martha best as a knitter, but also as a Belmonter and as someone I could turn to for advice. Most recently I bumped into her on the elevator at Vandy Children’s and a wash of calm came over me at that stressful time when she smiled and reminded me I could call her for guidance. Martha was generous with her kindness and her presence, especially through her sparkling smile. I will miss her sweet voice and her wisdom. She made such a beautiful mark on the world. We’re holding you all in prayer.

Madeleine Hallum

June 26, 2020

I am so fortunate to have known Martha over the past 12 years, first as her student & later on in our monthly leadership meetings. She is a genius Dietitian and inspired so many dietitians around the globe! She always had a smile on her face. She will greatly be missed. Sending love and prayers to the family & to Martha in Heaven, Love - Madeleine

Yolonda Fruster

June 26, 2020

Sending my condolences to the family. I worked with her in the Peds GI for years which she always had a smile on her face.

Jane DuBose

June 26, 2020

For several years, I served with Martha as our daughters were part of the Belmont UMC youth ministry program. Martha was always ready to volunteer. She was a wonderful parent and approached every event, every meeting with enthusiasm. She was patient, kind, and hard working. Her smile lit up the room. Our prayers are with her family. Her legacy at Belmont will one of love and care for the young people who benefited so much from her gifts.

We hold each of you in our hearts over the coming days.

donna sika

June 26, 2020

I am so sorry for your loss. Martha was such a kind, thoughtful and lovely person. I met Martha at Vanderbilt and did not work directly with her as I worked in the Adult Hospital, but did see her in action when she expertly wrote TPN orders for one of my family members.
I saw her on occasion at staff meetings and group settings and enjoyed talking to her very much. She will be so missed. You and your family will be remembered in my prayers.

Cynthia Facemire

June 26, 2020

Ken and Claire,
I am so saddened to learn of Martha’s untimely passing.
Martha and I were connected through VUMC. She was the first pediatric nutrition support dietitian we hired. I remember her being anxious about switching from adults to peds, having worked at the VA. However, she jumped in and quickly became an expert in pediatric nutrition. She was one of the best choices I made as an employer. Martha was one of the most intelligent and capable women I have ever known. Her contributions to pediatric nutrition are countless. Further, her training and influence of young dietetics professionals is far reaching. She was one of the most dedicated dietitians - to her team and to her patients. She demonstrated the highest level of honor and integrity. Further, she was a friend and showed caring and compassion to all.

Ken, you were her rock star and beloved husband and Claire, the joy of her being.

We grieve with you and hold you in our hearts In the days, weeks and months to come.

Cynthia Facemire

Cindy Ramirez

June 25, 2020

Ken, Claire and Ann
I was one of her office mates at Vandy.I actually had moved on to Fl. but had kept in touch with her every few months. The week before her passing I had actually talked to her twice , she had to tell me " one more thing" . I am so thankful for that conversation !
I hope you know how loved and valued she was , not only as a co worker but a friend. We will be better for knowing her.
May you all find some peace in knowing how proud she was , and loved you all dearly!
God Bless,

Elizabeth Rogers

June 25, 2020

I feel blessed to call Martha a mentor as well as friend. The most brilliant nutrition expert there is as well as the most kind, funny, and loving person you would ever meet. Her legacy and the lives she impacted are truly innumerable. She shared her passions, knowledge, family, and favorite things with me while I was in Nashville. She truly made it feel like home. My prayers are with Ken, Claire, Anne and family in your grief and loss. There was no one like her.

Lois Fleming

June 24, 2020

I’m heart sick that we can not be at the visitation and service as we are out of town. I’m terribly saddened about Martha’s passing. Her sweet voice is in my head, always so thoughtful. I’m so sorry for your loss.