Barbara Bowen Ballard, who considered her greatest success to be as a wife to Mormon senior apostle M. Russell Ballard, mother to their seven children and wise adviser to her 43 grandchildren, died Monday at her home.
She was 86.
In recent years, Ballard battled several health issues, including Alzheimer’s disease, according to a news release, with her “characteristic grace and sense of humor.”
The socially adept woman had myriad friends from her days as a student at the University of Utah, through her connections in the community and while working in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints alongside her husband, especially when he was a mission president in Toronto.
“The missionaries adored her and looked forward to her attending meetings and conferences as much as they did President Ballard,” the release said. “She loved them equally in return.”
Barbara Ballard was named Exemplary Woman of the Year in 2002 by church-owned Brigham Young University–Idaho “for her dedication to family and her unselfish work in the church and her community.”
She was born Jan. 5, 1932, in Salt Lake City. She was a student body officer for two years and graduated from South High School as valedictorian. She also attended the University of Utah, where she met her future husband. The two married Aug. 28, 1951, in the Salt Lake Temple.
“I married the right daughter of God,” M. Russell Ballard, the Utah-based faith’s acting president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, said in the release. “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.”
Funeral services will be held Monday, Oct. 8, at noon in the Monument Park LDS Stake Center, 1320 S. Wasatch Drive, in Salt Lake City. A public viewing will be held the Sunday before from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the same location.