Betty Ballard (nee Suarez) was a dedicated mother who loved nothing more than spending time with her family, said her husband, James Ballard.
“She was very caring person,” he said. “She just loved being with family.”
The couple were married for nearly 22 years.
Ballard said his wife was born in Peru and came to the United States at age 15 without her parents to live with siblings.
“That had to be really hard for her,” he said. “When she came here, she didn’t understand any English, but by the time we met she could speak it well and spell better than me.”
She attended Bloom High School, and the couple met through friends in Chicago Heights.
After their marriage, they moved to Lansing. James Ballard said he has been overwhelmed by support from his community following his wife’s death from cancer.
“There were so many people there at the funeral home. My wife touched a lot of people, I guess. I really want to thank my community for all the support and to those who know my son," he said.
Early in their marriage, Betty Ballard worked at Parco Foods in Blue Island. When she was laid off while pregnant with their youngest child, she dedicated herself to being a full-time stay-at-home mom.
The couple had three children: two adult daughters, Alyssa and Jessica, and 10-year-old son James Jr. Betty Ballard also had two children from a previous relationship, Daniel and Emilio, who preceeded her in death.
She had two grandsons and had just welcomed her first granddaughter five days before she died.
“Her birthday is December 29, and her granddaugher was born one month later on January 29,” her husband said. “She did get a chance to see her granddaughter.”
Family friend Gina Aguilar said, “Betty and James together raised two daughters and a sweet son with manners that will make every parent proud. That's a part of Betty that will live on forever.”
James Ballard said his best memories will be of simply spending family time together at home and of how much she enjoyed seeing her youngest son play sports. He was active in baseball, football and basketball.