Sister Barbara Ballard passed away in her home on October 1, 2018. To celebrate the life of this wonderful woman who sacrificed so much for the Church and to build the Lord's kingdom on earth, we wanted to share some of these touching tributes President M. Russell Ballard shared about his wife over the pulpit and on social media.
The Ballards on their wedding day in 1951. Photo from LDS.org.
Barbara Bowen met Russell Ballard at a University of Utah dance (they were both “well-known” students, according to a newspaper at the time). A mutual friend thought they should meet, and they danced for about 30 seconds. Thereafter they began dating. About their marriage, President Ballard said, "Getting her to agree to marry me was the greatest sales job I ever did."
From “M. Russell Ballard: True to the Faith”:
“I married the right woman. Without the help and direction of Barbara, our family relationships would not have happened as well as they did. It was hard to be the bishop, the owner of my own business, and at the same time father of these children that came along, but somehow it worked out. I give credit to Barbara and her good judgment.”
From "That the Lost May Be Found"
"I think I know why Lehi was greatly astonished when he first saw it, because I remember my reaction when I first saw and witnessed a GPS unit. In my mind it was a modern-day device 'of curious workmanship.' . . .
"For both my wife, Barbara, and me, the GPS is a blessing. For Barbara it means she doesn’t have to tell me to stop and ask for directions; and for me it means I can be right when I say, 'I don’t need to ask anyone. I know exactly where I’m going.'"
From “M. Russell Ballard”:
“I knew from the beginning that I wanted to marry her, but she didn’t share the same feelings. It was a little hard convincing her. I kid her now that getting her to agree to marry me was the greatest sales job I ever did.”
From “Daughters of God”:
"As a young father, I learned the demanding role of motherhood. I served as a counselor and then as bishop for a period of 10 years. During that time we were blessed with six of our seven children. Barbara was often worn-out by the time I got home Sunday evening. She tried to explain what it was like to sit on the back row in sacrament meeting with our young family. Then the day came that I was released. After sitting on the stand for 10 years, I was now sitting with my family on the back row.
"The ward’s singing mothers’ chorus was providing the music, and I found myself sitting alone with our six children. I have never been so busy in my whole life. I had the hand puppets going on both hands, and that wasn’t working too well. The Cheerios got away from me, and that was embarrassing. The coloring books didn’t seem to entertain as well as they should.
"As I struggled with the children through the meeting, I looked up at Barbara, and she was watching me and smiling. I learned for myself to more fully appreciate what all of you dear mothers do so well and so faithfully!"
Photo from LDS.org
From "Mothers and Daughters"
"My dear wife, Barbara, has had an eternally significant influence on our daughters and granddaughters—and they, in turn, on her. Mothers and daughters play a critical role in helping each other explore their infinite possibilities, despite the undermining influences of a world in which womanhood and motherhood are being corrupted and manipulated."
From "Following Up"
"Sixty-four years ago this September, I returned home from my mission in England. Three days after returning, I attended a Hello Day dance at the University of Utah with a friend of mine. He told me about a beautiful sophomore named Barbara Bowen, whom he thought I ought to meet. He brought her over and introduced us, and we started to dance.
"Unfortunately, this was what we used to call a 'tag dance,' which meant that you got to dance with the girl only until somebody else tagged you out. Barbara was vivacious and popular, so I got to dance with her for less than a minute before another young man tagged me out.
"That was just not acceptable to me. Having learned the importance of follow-up on my mission, I got her telephone number and called her the very next day to ask her out, but she was busy with school and social commitments. Thankfully, my mission taught me to be persistent even in the face of discouragement, and I was eventually able to make a date. And that date led to others. Somehow during those dates I was able to convince her that I was the only true and living returned missionary—at least as far as she should be concerned. Now, 64 years later, there are seven children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren who stand as evidence of the significant truth that no matter how good your message is, you may not get a chance to deliver it without consistent, persistent follow-up."