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Margene Ballard


Margene, 87, died May 27, 2022, at Abrazo Arrowhead Hospital.  Margene was born July 10, 1934, in Sac City, IA to Orrie and Emma Schnell.
Margene was born legally blind and overcame many obstacles throughout her life.  She attended Newell High School and, despite her handicap, graduated as Salutatorian of her Senior class.  Following high school, she attended Morningside College in Sioux City, IA and taught Art and Math in Des Moines, IA schools for 20 years.
Margene married Martin Ballard on April 3, 1971. They lived in Des Moines until 1978 when Margene’s eyesight became worse and she was unable to teach.  
Martin and Margene moved to Prescott Valley, AZ where they invested in real estate and built/sold houses.  They established a Center for the Blind in Prescott, AZ.  Margene volunteered there and taught ceramics and weaving until the couple retired to Sun City in 1998. Margene was very active and exercised two hours every day.  She also volunteered at their church.
In 2012, the couple moved to Amethyst Gardens Senior Living (now Garden Ridge) due to Martin’s health.  A few years later, Margene became an Ambassador by welcoming new residents to the community and helped teach exercise classes when needed.  Margene started wearing a flower/decoration in her hair so people would recognize her.  This became her trademark.  Margene also loved painting and making all types of arts and crafts projects. She displayed her artwork at the “Ballard Art Gallery” in the hallway outside their apartment.
Margene was preceded in death by her parents, husband Martin in 2015; brothers, twins Harold and Howard, Gordon and Ronley Schnell; sister Kathryn Yeakle, sisters-in law, Marilyn Schnell and Marlene Schnell; and daughter-in-law Alice Ballard. She is survived by 2 stepsons, Greg Ballard of Warsaw, MO and Guy Ballard of Saugatuck, MI; granddaughter, Stephanie Ballard of Blue Springs, MO; and many nieces and nephews.    
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.