Ester Grace Ballard - age: 83
(December 01, 1937 to April 08, 2021 )
Resident of Ukiah, California
Ester Grace Swayze Ballard, age 83, passed to her rest at her home in Ukiah on April 8, 2021, surrounded by her family. Ester was born on December 1, 1937 in Ignacio, Colorado and was the third of four children born to Ralph and Viola Swayze. Ester grew up in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.
After she graduated from eighth grade, Ester left home to attend boarding school at Campion Academy in Loveland, Colorado where she met her future husband, Gary Lee Ballard. She subsequently completed one year at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Ester and Gary were married on September 1, 1957, and Ester helped Gary finish his education at Union College in 1959. The couple then moved to Loma Linda, California where Gary began medical school. During these years, their two sons were born, Daryl and Dennis.
When Gary graduated, he was drafted into the Navy, and this took the family of four to Pensacola, Florida where their third son, Scott, was born. When Gary’s time was up in the Navy, the family settled in Boulder, Colorado where their daughter Sheri was born.
After eight years in Boulder, Gary decided to specialize in Radiology, and the family returned to California. All the children were in school by then, and Ester became the church secretary at the Redlands Seventh-day Adventist church. In 1977, Gary completed the specialty, and the family moved to Ukiah, California. Throughout Ester’s life, her pride and joy was her children and she took great pleasure in taking an active role in helping them succeed.
Ester worked in many capacities while in Ukiah. She managed the billing office for Ukiah Valley Radiology for more than 25 years. With her husband, she became the owner of Photo Finish, a photo processing lab and portrait studio. She volunteered in the children’s ministries at the Ukiah Seventh-day Adventist church and at Ukiah Junior Academy, where her younger children attended. She served as a leader and member of the parent and teacher organization there.
Ester was a great traveling companion for Gary. The family took many road trips across the United States. When the children left home, Gary and Ester took many trips to see their children and grandchildren. In addition, they traveled together to more than forty countries.
After volunteering at a multi-day free medical and dental clinic in Los Angeles for disadvantaged persons, Ester and Gary were impressed to coordinate and implement a similar clinic for Mendocino County. After a six month delay because of California fires, the Amen Clinic became a reality in Ukiah in April 2018.
Ester was preceded in death by her brother, David Swayze, and sister, Saba Anderson. She is survived by her husband, Gary Ballard; brother, Ralph Swayze, Jr.; sons, Daryl, Dennis, and Scott; daughter, Sheri Hansen; and 11 grandchildren. A memorial service celebrating Ester’s life will be held at the Ukiah Seventh-day Adventist church on June 26th at 4pm.