Marguerite Jones Ballenger, 90, of Charlottesville, Va., passed peacefully into the Lord’s arms Sept. 3, 2022, while surrounded by her loving family.
Born Oct. 18, 1931, in Elloree, S.C., the daughter of Marguerite Holmes Jones and William Raymond Jones, Marguerite is predeceased by her parents; and her brothers and sisters: James (Jim), Esther Ruth, Elizabeth (Betty), Robert, Richard (Dick), Mary Alice, William (Bill), and Thomas Winston (Wink). She is also predeceased by an infant grandson, Philip Michael Ballenger; and by her beloved husband of 54 years, Wesley Allan Ballenger, Sr.
Marguerite grew up in Keene near Charlottesville, Va., on the family farm. Her father was a Methodist minister, and as a youth, Marguerite traveled regularly with him to his country church charges in rural central Virginia. Her brothers Jim, Dick, Bill, and Wink all served in World War II, although Bill did not make it home after his plane went down over Germany. Marguerite kept her brother Bill alive in everyone’s hearts by sharing memories, letters, and stories of his youth. Marguerite graduated from Scottsville High School in 1949 and attended Mary Washington for 2 years before transferring to the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Education. She is a member of the first group of women allowed to live on grounds at UVA, and it was while a student Marguerite met her future husband Allan. After graduating in 1953, they married the following Thanksgiving at the UVA Chapel in a service officiated by her father.
Marguerite’s career as an educator spanned many years in the northern Virginia area. An active member of her profession, Marguerite, served on state curriculum committees, and later in her career, she led the development of an in-school suspension program in which she lovingly provided both discipline and ongoing individualized learning assistance. After retirement to Brunswick County in coastal North Carolina, Marguerite spent almost 20 years teaching GED for Brunswick Community College, helping to elevate the lives of over 300 individuals through education and improved employment opportunities.
Marguerite’s life was spent in service to others in so many ways, including leadership in her local Welcome Wagon and fundraising for both Virginia Mental Health Foundation and the United Way. After retirement, she and Allan volunteered at the Museum of Coastal Carolina. Her most treasured service over the years was to her church families, including Annandale United Methodist Church (UMC), Central UMC in Staunton, Va., Leesburg (Va.) UMC, Little River (S.C.) UMC, and Seaside UMC (Sunset Beach, NC.). She taught Sunday School, coordinated youth groups, led Disciple Bible Study courses, and made a pilgrimage with Allan to the Holy Land.
In her later years, Marguerite returned home to Charlottesville to be closer to her son and daughter. She loved being near UVA and attending the Thomas Jefferson Society reunion events every year. She reconnected with old friends in the area and made new friends through her Branchlands community and through Aldersgate UMC. She helped raise her youngest granddaughter Jo Anne, and was the ever-popular after school playground grandmother at Woodbrook Elementary School. In March 2020, Marguerite took up residence with Kathryn, Dan, and Jo Anne in Charlottesville. Marguerite traveled widely with her children and their families, and was always ready for her next great adventure.
Marguerite is survived by her son Wesley Allan Ballenger, Jr and wife Judi, of Leesburg, Va.; and her daughter Kathryn Ballenger Reid and husband Dan, of Charlottesville, Va. Her three grandsons are Wesley Allan Ballenger, III with his wife Becky, and two great-grandchildren Andrew and Julia, of Ellicott City, Md.; Jefferson William Ballenger of Leesburg, Va.; and Russell Alexander Ballenger with his wife Christine and great-grandchild Blake, of The Woodlands, Texas. Her two granddaughters are Megan Ballenger Reid Crow, with her husband Cas, of Chattanooga, Tenn., and Josephine Anne (Jo Anne) Reid, of Charlottesville, Va. Marguerite is also survived by a large number of loving nieces and nephews and their families.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 17, 2022 at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 1500 East Rio Road, Charlottesville, Va., with Pastor Chip Giessler officiating.
The family suggests that instead of flowers, contributions may be provided to Aldersgate UMC, Seaside UMC in Sunset Beach, N.C., Hospice of the Piedmont in Charlottesville, Va., or to a charity of your choice.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.hillandwood.com.