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Obituaries » Edith Ballard

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January 12, 1929 - January 15, 2021

A celebration of her life will be held later in the year for family and friends who say, Vi elsker dig, Mom, Grandmother, Maw-Maw, Aunt Edith, Edith.   Those wishing to make a lasting gift in Edith's memory are asked to consider a contribution to Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo, MI, or Kimball Memorial Lutheran Church, Kannapolis, NC, c/o the funeral home.

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On January 15, 2021, Edith Schmidt Ballard of Mooresville, NC, formerly of Kannapolis, passed away peacefully at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich., while visiting a daughter. Her son and two daughters were by her side. Born on January 12, 1929 in Aabenraa, Denmark, Edith was the daughter of Andreas Jacob Schmidt and Helena “Muddie” Jacobson Schmidt, who preceded her in death, as did her five older brothers, Andreas, Jacob, Oscar, Herman, and Gustav Schmidt, all of Denmark. When American soldiers arrived in Denmark after the country’s liberation from Germany, a young Edith met and married Corporal James Miles, originally from Pageland, SC. The couple’s son, Herbert, was born in Aabenraa in 1948, and the family sailed to America on a troop transport ship in December of that year. The family initially lived near Fort Benning, GA, where a daughter, Belinda Miles, was born in April 1950, and lived briefly. Corporal Miles was killed in July 1950, and Edith moved to Kannapolis, NC, to raise her son near her in-laws. In Kannapolis, she met and married Howard C. Ballard, who died in July 1992. Mrs. Ballard is survived by her son, Herbert Tyrone (Patricia) Ballard of Mooresville, with whom she made her home, and her two daughters, Heidi Green of Huntersville, NC, and Kim Ballard of Kalamazoo, Mich. She is also survived by five grandchildren, Robert Ballard, Melissa Green, Emily Green, Zack Ballard (Sebastian Ibarra), and Jeremy Ballard (Olivia Felo); three great-granddaughters, Shelby McClain, Caitie Ballard, and Sydney Dauwe; and three great-great grandchildren, Lexi Ballard, Lucas McClain, and Jack McClain. In Denmark, survivors in Mrs. Ballard’s large family include her friend and cousin, Christel (Kund) Nielsen, as well as nieces and nephews, Jan (Caja) Schmidt, Finn (Merete) Schmidt, Jannie (Calle) Nielsen, John Schmidt, Bent Schmidt, Sissel Schmidt, Magnus (Maria) Schmidt, Sophia Schmidt, Birgitte Schmidt, Martin Schmidt, Emil Nielsen, Emily Nielsen, August Schmidt-Nielsen, and Malte Schmidt.  A homemaker much of her life, Mrs. Ballard worked at Aycock School, Bitsy Bakery, and Belk in Kannapolis before beginning a career at Virginia’s Dress Shop. Devoted to her family, Mrs. Ballard served as a grade parent for her children’s elementary classes, a Brownie Scout leader, and a Sunday School teacher at Kimball Memorial Lutheran Church. She also cared for her mother, Muddie, who visited often from Denmark, and opened her home to Danish visitors—an aunt, brothers, sisters-in-law, cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends. Mrs. Ballard traveled extensively to be with her mother and other family members in Denmark and to see her daughters as they moved to West Lafayette, IN; New York, NY; Los Angeles, CA; and Kalamazoo, MI. Known for fascinating stories about her experiences in Denmark during World War II, Mrs. Ballard spoke in numerous elementary through college classes. She last spoke at Ethan Shive School in Rockwell, NC, where her niece Cindy Wellman teaches. Mrs. Ballard earned a secondary degree in Aabenraa, Denmark, and in her late 70s attended Mitchell Community College, to earn an American GED, and Western Michigan University (WMU), to study her second language, German, in more depth. At WMU, she became a huge part of the Writing Center, directed by her daughter Kim, sharing stories and jokes, baking Danish food for students and others, attending writing conferences, and even presenting at the Michigan Writing Centers Association Conference about writing and returning adult students. Mrs. Ballard was especially close to Elsie Teague and Mildred Linker, who preceded her in death; her niece Jan (Charles) Simpson; her sisters-in-law Norma (Bill) Ballard and Betty (Hoke) Ritchie; John, Terri, and Jessica Anderson; and Charlie (Rhonda) Green. Edith Ballard lived a selfless, busy, humor-filled life, devoting herself to her family, friends, and others.