Memorial service for Barbara Jean Ballard, longtime Claremore educator, will be 2:00 p.m. Thursday, March 17, 2022, at Claremore First United Methodist Church. Family will greet friends at MMS-Payne Funeral Home in Claremore from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16.
Barbara passed from this life on Monday, March 14 at Integris Grove Hospital. She was 75 years of age.
Barbara was born March 6, 1947 in Hickory Grove, Oklahoma, the daughter of Bennie J. and Maxine (Chenowith) Cooper. Barbara attended Hickory Grove Schools through eighth grade, and graduated a proud member of Grove High School class of 1965. Barbara went on to attend college at NEO A&M and earned her Associates Degree. From there, she attended Northeastern State, where she obtained her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education. While at NSU, she met the love of her life, Benny Ray Ballard. They were united in marriage on August 2, 1969.
Barbara began her teaching career at Barnard Elementary in Tulsa in 1969. She went on to teach a total of 42 years, with 13 years at Hominy, and 27 years at Claremore. She received her Masters of Library Science from the University of Oklahoma, and spent her last 12 years as a librarian with Claremore Public Schools.
Barbara was a longtime member of Claremore First United Methodist Church, P.E.O. Sisterhood, and Delta Kappa Gamma. She volunteered for several community organizations, and was also recognized as Claremore Teacher of the Year.
In her free time, she enjoyed spending time with her family and traveling to any and all sporting events that her grandkids were participating in. She enjoyed cheering for the Oklahoma Sooners, Tuttle Tigers, Tahlequah Tigers, and Rose State Raiders.
Barbara was preceded in death by her parents, her brother and sister-in-law Donald and Carol Cooper, and sister-in-law Karen Cooper, as well as her Father- and Mother-in-law Tommy Jack and Mary Ballard.
Those who survive and hold many cherished memories include her husband of 52 years, Benny, of Grove, Oklahoma; son Bradley and wife Carla of Tuttle, OK; daughter Julie (Chrissie) and husband Brandon of Tahlequah, OK; grandchildren Tate and Tanner Christian of Tahlequah, and Dillon and Makenzie Ballard of Tuttle; brother Larry Cooper of Branson, MO; nephew Shawn Cooper of Branson, MO; nephew Derek Cooper of Osage Beach, MO; nephew Gary Cooper of Wichita, KS; niece Carol Sue Cooper West,of Wichita, KS; special friends Robbie Burnett and Nell Butler of Hominy; Peggy McGehee of Claremore; her caretaker Angel Hynes of Nixa, MO; as well as numerous great-nieces and -nephews, friends, and former students.