Loved by her family for her charitable nature, Barbara Bowen Ballard, wife of President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, passed away at 86-years-old on Oct. 1 in Salt Lake City. In recent years, Sister Ballard had many health issues, including Alzheimer’s disease. She passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family members.
Marcus Martins, dean of religious education, reminded, “It is at times like this that our testimony of the doctrine of the plan of salvation and of eternal families brings comfort. It does not take away the pain, but it can bring comfort.
“The Doctrine and Covenants acknowledges that [pain] in section 42 verse 45 where it says ‘Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection.’ It is part of our human tendency, and the Lord acknowledges that, to shed some tears when we lose a loved one. Because of Jesus Christ we will see each other again. We will be able to embrace one another, hug one another kiss one another and enjoy our associations.”
According to LDS.org, Sis. Ballard was born on Jan. 5, 1932, in Salt Lake City, Utah. She graduated from South High School in Salt Lake City and then attended the University of Utah and majored in English. She and Pres. Ballard met at a dance just days after he returned home from his mission. “A friend of mine thought I ought to meet her, so he tagged in to dance with her, danced over to where I was, introduced me, and I danced with her 30 seconds before I was tagged out. That was the beginning of a courtship of 11 months,” Pres. Ballard said. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on Aug. 28, 1951. They have two sons and five daughters.
Bro. Martins emphasized the importance of the atonement in the doctrine of eternal families. “The eternity of families is the ultimate objective of the atonement of Jesus Christ… When you go to the temple and see the sealing room you will see that the atonement is at the center of the ordinance.”
In a BYU Provo devotional from 2001, Pres. Ballard spoke of his marriage to Sis. Ballard. “The greatest day in my life was the day I met Barbara Bowen. My greatest accomplishment was convincing her I was the only true and living returned missionary among all of those she was dating. It was a most important day when we were married in the Salt Lake Temple.”
Pres. Ballard once said, “I married the right daughter of God. Without the help and direction of Barbara, our family relationships would not have been as happy and fulfilling as they were. Barbara is a treasure for our family forever. We honor her for her constant love, good judgment, and counsel.”
According to Mormon Newsroom, the Ballards moved to Canada in 1974 where Pres. Ballard served as mission president to the Canada Toronto Mission until 1977. In 1976, Pres. Ballard was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy. While in Ontario, Sis. Ballard made many meaningful connections and was adored by missionaries, Church members, and community members.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, in 2002 Sis. Ballard was named Exemplary Woman of the Year by BYU-Idaho “for her dedication to family and her unselfish work in the church and her community.” In her remarks, Sister Ballard spoke on how women can turn their homes into a holy place by having high standards and exhibiting grace. She encouraged women to develop their talents and make righteous choices.
Sis. Ballard served in many church callings throughout her years, according to LDS.org. She was a teacher for several classes and served in the Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society Presidencies. One of her great joys was being able to befriend and fellowship others.
According to Mormon Newsroom, Sis. Ballard’s greatest joy, however, was her role as a loving wife, mother, and grandmother, according to Mormon Newsroom. She and her husband adored their family and consider them to be their greatest blessing. She felt it was a great compliment when her children, 43 grandchildren, and 90 great-grandchildren would come to her for advice about their concerns.