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Esther W. (West) BallardMarch 11, 1917 ~ July 19, 2017 (age 100)
Esther W. Ballard, 100, went to be with her Lord and Savior July 19, 2017. She was born March 11, 1917 in Horton Bay, Michigan to Robert and Caroline West, the youngest of seven children. Throughout her life, she always enjoyed revisiting her roots on West Rd, sharing many memories with friends and family of her “farm” days.
After attending a one-room school through eighth grade, Esther moved to Charlevoix to live with her sister, Viola. There she was nanny to her niece and nephew, Alvin and Virginia, while attending Charlevoix High School, graduating in 1936. She went on to study small business courses at Ferris State University for two years.
Esther married Don Ballard on January 29, 1944 at Fort Hood in Texas. When Don was deployed to Germany, Esther returned to Petoskey and began working at the State Bank.
1952 brought a new season in her life as she and Don started Ballard’s Plumbing and Heating. They were a team for 30 years. Esther also opened Ballard’s Bed and Bath Boutique, which was as successful as the contracting business in Petoskey and surrounding area. They sold the business in 1982.
Esther attended Horton Bay Church as a child and later Trinity Evangelical United Brethren Church until 1964 when it merged with the Methodist Church where she is currently a member. Esther’s faith was paramount in her life. She lived her faith and was an example to all who met and knew her. Her wise sayings and bits of wisdom were often passed on to family and friends—always the encourager.
In her leisure time, Esther enjoyed knitting many “beanie” caps for newborn babies at the hospital and was often found knitting sweaters and blankets for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren or afghans for favorite friends.
Later in life Esther began playing golf. She and Don became members of the Petoskey-Bay View Country Club where she was flight champion many times over and played her last round at the age of 92. They also enjoyed seventeen years of golf with new friends in Sebring, Florida during retirement.
Esther is survived by her daughters, Mary Ramseyer of Traverse City and Martha (Roger) Radcliffe of Petoskey; five grandchildren: Jennifer Radcliffe (Scott) Jones of Kingsville, TX; Judy (Andy) Balchik of Ironwood, MI; Jody (Bryce) Kucharek of Harvey, MI; Dr. Abby Ramseyer (Dr. James Fletcher) of Lubbock, TX.; Dr. Jacob (Kim) Ramseyer of Buffalo, NY. Six great-grandchildren: John, Adrianne, James Balchik; Nicklas Kucharek; Everett Fletcher; Elam Ramseyer, and many nieces and nephews. She will be blessed with two new great-grandchildren September and December this year.
She was preceded in death by her husband Don, her parents Robert and Caroline West, her siblings Lil Allen, Viola Wade, Elizabeth Trautmann, Fran Swanson, Joe West, Arbutus (Beauty) Pfeiffer, and son-in-law EJ Ramseyer.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to her physician, Dr. Paul Blanchard, who tended to her needs physically and emotionally. Thank you for your dedication and compassion.
The family would also like to thank Hospice of Northwest Michigan especially
Donna, her nurse, and Tammy, her aide, who were a great comfort to her in the final months of her life.
Memorial Services will be held at the Trinity Missionary Church on Division Road at 11:00AM on October 28, 2017. Visitation with the family will begin one hour prior to the service. Rev. Thad Mcgehee will be officiating the service.
In lieu of flowers, Esther requests memorials be directed to Hospice of Northwest Michigan or Debt Retirement Fund of United Methodist Church of Petoskey.
Hospice of Northwest Michigan
220 W. Garfield, Charlevoix MI 49720
Petoskey United Methodist Church
1804 Mitchell St., Petoskey MI 49770