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Elizabeth Ballard

July 9, 1952-Oct. 22, 2010

Elizabeth Ballard, 58, of Detroit Lakes, passed away Friday, October 22, 2010 in her home in Detroit Lakes. Liz was surrounded by her loved ones and passed quietly after a long battle with cancer.

The memorial service was held at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25, 2010 in United Methodist Church, Detroit Lakes.

Liz is survived by her husband Cecil; mother Avis Harden of Mission, Texas; son Jacob McGrath (fiancée Tracy) of Detroit Lakes; daughter Estelle (Alex) Kuldell of Chantilly, Va.; stepchildren Anne Ballard of Fargo and Katie (Brandon) Tharp of Yuma, Ariz.; her three cherished grandchildren, Zander, Isabella and Devin, and step-grandchild, Emma.

She also leaves behind a brother, Gerald (Joyce) McGowan of Smithfield, Va.; stepsisters, Sandy (Wayne) Painter of Woodbury, Minn., and Kathy (Mark) Oman of Rogers, Minn.; and stepbrothers Paul (Charlie) Grindstaff of Cedar Hills, Texas, and Roger (Juanita) Grindstaff of New York Mills.

Liz was born to Gerald (Bud) and Avis (Whitney) McGowan on July 9, 1952 in Perham. She grew up on a small farm just south of Richville. The farm got electricity from REA in 1956 and Bud added a Zenith television soon after.

Liz attended Victory country school east of Basswood for the first few grades, and then moved with her mother to Faribault, Minn., and later, Tiffin, Iowa.

In 1966, Liz moved back to a small farm south of Perham and graduated from PHS in 1970. After high school Liz attended Fergus Falls community college, received her LPN degree in 1971 and worked at various nursing homes and hospitals in the area. In 1992 she returned to college at MSUM, received her BS Degree in nursing and started work with Norman-Mahnomen Public Health in 1995.

In 1972, Liz married Danny McGrath and they settled on a farm south of Dent. Life was tough and although the marriage did not last, Liz was blessed with a son, Jacob Key and a daughter, Katherine Estelle.

In 1995, Liz started work at the Waubun School District as the school nurse. Nurse Liz loved her children and was dedicated to their care, development, and wellbeing.

In 2002, Liz was asked out on a date by Cecil Ballard, the fifth and sixth grade social studies teacher. That first date turned into a lifelong commitment on August 16, 2003 when Cecil and Liz, surrounded by friends and family, were married on the porch of their restored home in Detroit Lakes.

Over the past seven good years, Liz and Cecil continued to serve the Waubun schools and took numerous trips, visiting family and gaining firsthand knowledge of U.S. history and family genealogies. Liz was also active at Tamarac and in theater productions at the Wood Tick Theater, where she acted, managed the stage and directed. One favorite character that she portrayed many times in many venues was "Grampa Bud," a kind hearted, lecherous old man that could get howls of laughter from her audience and victims.

Liz was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma in April of this year. Mother Avis moved north to assist. Liz, Cecil, and Avis formed a strong team, active in the medical treatment and focused entirely on beating the disease ... but over time the combination of the disease and the treatment wore down her reserves and Liz succumbed.

Through the entire battle, Liz's tenacity, humor, and positive spirit were a shining example to everyone she came in contact with. Liz lived her life to the fullest, and Liz loved ... She loved her profession, her family, her community, her church, and her Cecil. She loved cold mornings with coffee, wrapped in a quilt with Cecil on the porch to watch the sunrise. She loved her home and her garden ... and so it is fitting that on a cold Friday morning, with the sun just rising, Liz passed away, surrounded by the people she loved in the home that she loved.