Mary G. McKinney Ballew, age 93, of Dula Road in Spruce Pine went to be with her heavenly Father and family on April 29, 2019.

She was born July 8, 1925 to the late S.D. and Alfreda Anne Buchanan McKinney in the Crabtree Community of Mitchell County, N.C. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of fifty-nine years, Edward Ballew who passed away in 2002, her brothers Ray, Virgil, Clarence and Claude McKinney and sisters Myrtle Grayson, Jeannie Pipes and Helen Bailey.

Left to cherish her memories are her daughter Suzanne and husband Jerry Russell, of Spruce Pine; her sons Steve of Conroe, Texas and John of Spruce Pine; her grandsons Chris Wilson of Asheville and Clayton Ballew of Oceanside, California; her granddaughter Brandi and husband Shawn Mull of Morganton; her great granddaughters Cassidy Mull, Claire Mull, and Serena Wilson; her sister Carolyn and husband Charles Sproles of Spruce Pine; her brother Dan and wife Martha McKinney of Little Switzerland ; two step-grandchildren Scott Russell & Kimberly Russell ; five step-great grandchildren CJ Young, Max Young, Zachary Russell, Samantha Oklesson & Matilda Wolfe and a step-great-great granddaughter Emma Oklesson. Mary G. will also be forever remembered by her numerous nieces and nephews, extended family and dear friends.

Mary G. graduated from Harris High School in 1942 and soon afterward married the love of her life, Edward (Junior). After World War II, they returned to Spruce Pine to care for his ailing grandmother, Hattie Hollifield Ballew. Mary was a socially active woman who was deeply involved in her church, Grassy Creek Baptist where she taught Sunday school, sang in the choir, served in the WMU, and worked on the Grassy Creek Memorial Gardens committee. She was a founding member of Mayland Community College, where she served on the Foundation Board from 1991 until her health declined and became an emeritus member in 2010. One of her prized possessions was a plaque commemorating her service to the Foundation Board. She was a lifetime member of the Eastern Star, a member of the Community Choir and a member of the Grassy Creek Homemaker’s Club. One of her greatest joys was her volunteer work at the Prison for twenty-two years where she was Choir director, a mentor and a member of the Community Resource Council. In addition to her volunteer work, she also enjoyed spending time with her family, friends and pets, gardening, square dancing and especially shopping.

The family respectfully requests the honor of your presence at the Celebration of Life service on Monday, May 6, 2019 3:00 pm at Grassy Creek Baptist Church with the Rev’s. Matthew Mills and Nathan Silver officiating. Music will be provided by the Grassy Creek Baptist Church Choir and Ginger Letterman. Personal reflections will be shared by Shirley Pitman and Claudia Honeycutt. A time to support the family, share memories & receive friends will be from 2:00 pm until 3:00 pm at the church. Interment will be after the service at the Grassy Creek Memorial Gardens.

The family would like to thank Hospice of the Blue Ridge and especially thank Christine Hopson, Karen Watts, and Monica Burleson for the excellent care given to our mother during her illness and Henry Lange for all his years of caretaking & friendship with the family.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Hospice of the Blue Ridge, Grassy Creek Baptist Church Memorial Gardens, Mayland Community College, or the Parkway Fire Department.

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